At an event with the Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana in Monroe today, Governor Bobby Jindal was joined by Department of Health (DHH) Secretary Alan Levine to announce that LDH has surpassed its enrollment goals for the year and enrolled an additional 11,000 Louisiana children from lower-income and working families into health insurance programs since January.
Governor Jindal said, “Health care is an absolute essential for every Louisiana family – and especially our lower income and working families. We have to ensure that every Louisianian has access to high-quality affordable health care, and working to increase the enrollment in our health insurance programs for children is a vital part of that mission. We will continue to work to strengthen our state’s health care system so that those Louisiana families that need services the most - and who can sometimes be the hardest to reach because they live in a rural area - are able to get the care they need for their children. This investment in health care for our children will decrease the state’s health care spending by decreasing emergency room visits, and also increase our kids’ performance in school and their overall health and wellbeing.”
In one of his first acts as Governor, Jindal secured approval of the expansion of LaCHIP to insure children up to 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. As the state has prepared for implementation of this expansion, LDH and its community partners have aggressively sought to insure as many qualified children as possible. With these stepped up efforts in the last four months, LDH has surpassed enrollment goals for the state fiscal year, which ends June 30. Currently, more than 646,000 children in the state are now covered by Medicaid/ LaCHIP.
Since January, outreach efforts around the state, including several enrollment blitzes, have been credited with the increase in enrollment. Department of Health and Hospital (DHH) offices and contractors/community partners in Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe and Shreveport have distributed more than 72,000 applications to more than 2,300 locations. LDH officials and partnering community organizations have visited stores, schools, churches and community centers in order to raise awareness of the program.
In addition, Governor Jindal announced the successful rollout of the LaCHIP Affordable Plan, the new program covering children between 200 – 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($53,000 of annual income for a family of four). The program began accepting applications April 15, with new enrollees having access to services beginning in June. An additional 6,500 children are expected to be covered by this expansion.
LDH Secretary Alan Levine said, “Our priority is the health and well being of children. We want them to learn and thrive, and have the peace of mind of knowing they have health care access when they need it. We will continue to focus on this important priority of the Governor and Legislature.”
According to Secretary Levine, a number of factors have directly contributed to the increase in children’s enrollment.
“Throughout the state, we’re conducting extensive, grass-roots outreach on a daily basis,” said Levine. “DHH employees are on the ground, in their communities, participating in local events, partnering with local governments, businesses and organizations to spread the word about this program that many families don’t yet realize they are qualified to receive.”
Families can also apply for LaCHIP and Medicaid online with the recent implementation of an Internet-based application. The online application is easy to use and ensures fast application processing turnaround time, which has been recently averaging eight calendar days. “It is important that applications are processed quickly,” Levine said. “The public expects us to be efficient, and the addition of the online application delivers a savings in both time and money.”
LaCHIP and Medicaid provide access to primary care doctors and specialists at little or no cost to families, providing an increased opportunity for healthy outcomes among children and teens in lower income families. To find out more about LaCHIP and Medicaid or to enroll, visit www.lachip.org ( http://www.lachip.org/ ) or call (877) 252-2447.