Mann directs the Center for Children and Families at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute and is a respected national expert on initiatives to expand health insurance to more children. This is part of a presentation she gave to the NC Institute of Medicine yesterday.
Mann described some great steps NC can take to get children better access to care. One is to create a “buy in” program where all children could purchase coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program with premiums set according to family assets.
Another option is to allow parents to purchase coverage in the same program that covers kids. When entire families get insurance it improves the health of parents and children.
Finally, NC needs to make it easier for families to renew coverage through Medicaid and SCHIP. For the month of August, 2008, Medicaid coverage was terminated for 25 percent of infants and children that were due to reenroll with the state. Of those policies that were terminated, 65 percent were canceled because of a failure to provide enough information and paperwork to Medicaid.
NC could drastically cut the number of children dropped from Medicaid due to processing problems by using “paperless verification” and aggressively following up with families that have missing forms.