More than 1,800 children have health care coverage today than they did last month following a week-long effort to enroll New Orleans-area children in available health care programs. State health officials and advocates for children are applauding the effort as one of the most successful one-time events to enroll children into the Louisiana Children’s Health Insurance Program.
During the week of April 17 – 22, employees from the Department of Health (DHH) and community partners from across the state descended on New Orleans to participate in the LaCHIP Outreach Blitz. The event was designed to be a massive collaborative effort to enroll children who had either lost their LaCHIP/Medicaid coverage after Hurricane Katrina, or who had never received coverage before and were unaware they qualified for the LaCHIP program.
Nearly 25,000 applications were distributed by LaCHIP representatives entrenched in the local neighborhoods of Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes. These representatives were part of the community coverage teams who remained mobile throughout the day, driving to and from businesses, churches, grocery stores, banks, hair salons and restaurants to distribute applications.
Over 500 applications were processed on site for potentially eligible recipients at the more than 70 Outreach Blitz events held at various community venues throughout the two-parish area. Officials with LaCHIP/Medicaid say they are expecting even more enrollees over the next several months due to the extensive placement of so many applications at strategic locations.
In addition to the applications distributed and processed on site, LDH staff were also able to update over 300 active Medicaid cases. These updates included changes of address, ordering new Medicaid cards, and updating phone numbers. LaCHIP representatives also conducted on-site renewals of current Medicaid cases to extend them for an additional 12 months of coverage, if the child remained eligible.
The LaCHIP office in Baton Rouge received a total of 947 mailed or faxed applications for the New Orleans region during the ten-day period of April 17 – 26. This is a dramatic increase compared to the prior ten-day period (April 7 – 16), when only 266 applications were received for the same region.
Overall, a total of 1,806 children in the New Orleans region were approved for enrollment in LaCHIP during the month of April. The previous month had 500 fewer enrollments in the same region, at 1,326. Although not all enrollments can be attributed to the Outreach Blitz, it is believed the event was a major influence in the increased number of applicants.
After Hurricane Katrina, over 68,000 children in the New Orleans area lost their health coverage. LDH now calculates that number to be just over 66,000, and estimates about one-third of those children is still eligible for LaCHIP or Medicaid.
The LaCHIP Outreach Blitz was a joint effort by LDH, Agenda for Children and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Cover the Uninsured Week campaign. For more information about the LaCHIP program, visit www.lachip.org or call 1-877-2LaCHIP.