Houston Improves Health Insurance for Kids

An effort to enroll every eligible child in a health insurance program has reached a milestone. More than thirty-thousand children in Harris County were added to the Children's Health Insurance Program over the past year. Laurie Johnson has more.
The 100% Campaign was launched last August. It's a partnership between the Children's Defense Fund and HISD. The goal is to make sure every child in the school district has health insurance. Children's Defense Fund Texas Director Barbara Best says Texas has the highest rate of uninsured children.

"We had been moving backwards, 2003 budget cuts caused 200,000 children to lose CHIP health coverage, more than 31,000 in Harris County. But the good news is that CHIP is back on track and CHIP is on the rise. Since the start of the last school year, Harris County CHIP enrollment has increased by more than 33,000 children. Again we've recaptured all 31,000 children that lost coverage have been re-enrolled."

Schools in HISD made automated phone calls to more than 17,000 households, encouraging parents to enroll their children. And Best says caseworkers trained parents on not only how to enroll, but also how to utilize health benefits.

"We've been focused so much on enrolling children in coverage, but we've also got to make sure that families know how to use this coverage once enrolled. They know when to go to the emergency room, how to use 24-hour nurse call lines."

The 100% Campaign is so successful that the Houston Endowment is going to fund its expansion. Right now it's focused on HISD, but will soon spread to other school districts in the region.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...