Why This Matters
Access to and enrollment in health insurance helps ensure that children receive consistent and timely medical care. When children and youth have access to preventive and acute medical care in a “medical home” setting, where providers know their patients and coordinate all aspects of care, it can result in fewer or less severe illnesses, fewer hospitalizations or visits to the ER, better physical and emotional health, and even better school outcomes.
What Are The Facts?
More than 1 out of 4 Westchester children depend on state-sponsored health insurance for their health care. Since 1998, WCA spearheaded efforts to enroll over 10,000 eligible children in New York’s health insurance programs.
According to the 2000 census, 6% of Westchester’s children had no health insurance during any part of the previous year. Research indicates that there were probably twice as many children (more than 27,500) who were uninsured for at least a portion of that same year.
What Did WCA Do?
As organizer and chair of the Child Health Advocacy Coalition (CHAN), WCA led the effort to enroll eligible children in Medicaid and Child Health Plus. WCA was a leader of Westchester County’s Facilitated Enrollment Project, which sent workers into neighborhoods to help parents enroll their children. WCA coordinated the public-private partnership that was the backbone of the Facilitated Enrollment program. WCA took the lead in sponsoring educational forums, and training community workers on the new insurance programs’ requirements.
Through CHAN, WCA led Westchester’s state and federal advocacy for continued improvements of the Child Health Plus and Medicaid programs, including federal reauthorization of the State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), program expansion, adequate funding and administrative simplification of children’s health insurance.
WCA successfully spearheaded special outreach efforts for hard to reach populations, such as undocumented and other immigrants, underserved minorities and newly qualified families who are unfamiliar with health insurance programs. A targeted effort aimed at families in northern Westchester resulted in a 36% increase in enrollments over a 6 month period in 2004.
With the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2012, WCA has worked to ensure that service providers understand how to put the Act into action. In February 2013, WCA partnered with Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy in Albany, NY to present “Health Care Reform for Children and Families: What’s Next for New York.” Please view slides from the presentation (in PDF) here and here, as well as a 2012 Fact Sheet produced by WCA to educate voters on the issue of children’s health.