UWCA Accepts Connecting Kids to Coverage Challenge
United Ways of California commits to enrolling uninsured kids in health care coverage
United Ways of California along with several local United Ways across California have announced that they have accepted Secretary Sebelius’s Connecting Kids to Coverage Challenge to boost children’s enrollment in health insurance coverage programs in communities across California.
In February 2010, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued the “Secretary’s Challenge” to local, state and national organizations, policymakers and individuals to find and enroll the nation’s five million eligible but uninsured children in health insurance.
On September 3, 2010, Secretary Sebelius launched the Connecting Kids to Coverage Challenge at a press conference in Washi ngton DC attended by several organizations and Secretary Arnie Duncan. United Ways of California along with United Way Worldwide and over 100 local United Ways have accepted the Challenge and are committed to covering uninsured kids– a reflection of the value United Way places on youth health and wellness. In California alone, there are approximately 1.5 million uninsured children, of which almost 700,000 are eligible for either the Healthy Families program or MediCal but are not enrolled.
“Every day a child remains uninsured is a lost opportunity to strengthen our future,” said United Ways of California President and CEO Peter Manzo. “Right now, many kids can’t be healthy and active because they don’t have health insurance. As part of the Secretary’s Challenge, United Ways of California and several of our local United Ways across the state are tackling this problem in their respective communities head on.”
Urban Institute released a report on September 3, 2010 with new data which confirms that 14.8% of the country’s 4.7 million eligible but uninsured kids reside in California.
United Ways of California and the local United Ways will accept the Secretary’s Challenge by undertaking the following activities over the next five years:
- Advocating in Sacramento to cut red tape by simplifying enrollment and renewal in the public programs such as Healthy Families Program and MediCal;
- Making stronger connections between health insurance coverage outreach and other United Way education, income and health programs such as our VITA sites, Days of Caring and health fairs;
- Guiding parents through the enrollment process for their children via our 2-1-1 information and referral services;
- Hosting enrollment events and reaching out to the community through businesses to enroll more uninsured kids; and
- Broadening this effort to recruit a wide array of community partners to join in enrollment outreach.
“Too many kids out there can’t be active or healthy right now, because without health insurance, parents worry those fun kid activities like sports could put the family into debt. Also, too many children miss school due to chronic illnesses and dental pain, thereby threatening their success in school. That’s why we, as United Ways of California and our members, are participating in the Secretary’s Challenge – to help give more kids in California a chance to get moving, get healthy and be part of the game of life,” said Manzo.
In 2008, United Way established a ten-year goal to increase by one-third the number of children and adults who are healthy and avoid risky behaviors. One of our measures for success is the number of children with health insurance coverage, which is vital for improving access to care as well as overall health.
United Way Worldwide was one of the organizational speakers at the September 3rd event. “It may not be a small problem, but thankfully, it is a problem we can solve. That’s why United Way Worldwide has accepted the Challenge, along with more than 100 of our state and local affiliates across the country, to enroll uninsured kids who are already eligible for coverage”, said Peter Beard, Senior Vice President, Community Impact at United Way Worldwide.
United Ways of California improves health, education and financial results for low income children and families by enhancing and coordinating the advocacy and community impact work of California’s 37 United Ways.