Child health insurance program gets $200K grant from National League of Cities
Pittsburgh hopes to sign up at least 2,000 kids who are eligible, but not enrolled, in public health care programs.
The National League of Cities on Monday announced a $200,000 grant for Pittsburgh that will fund an outreach program to enroll children and families in Medicaid and Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
“One of the big problems is people who qualify for Medicaid and CHIP sometimes don't know they qualify,” said Betty Cruz, Pittsburgh's nonprofit and faith-based manager. “Others who are enrolled, sometimes their child might be dropped out without them knowing.”
She said the $200,000 will be used over 18 months for marketing and to hire several staffers.
Officials estimate that 1,500 to 2,000 children in Pittsburgh are eligible but not enrolled in the programs. Cruz said the number could be as high as 4,000.
Medicaid, also known as medical assistance, is available for low-income families. CHIP provides free or reduced insurance coverage for Pennsylvanians 18 and younger, depending on income.
For example, children in a family of four earning $37,445 to $49,608 annually would receive free coverage, according to the state's CHIP website. A four-person household with an annual income of $68,688 would pay an average monthly premium of $71 per child.
Pennsylvania Insurance Department spokeswoman Melissa Fox said some people won't enroll because of a stigma associated with government assistance. Others just opt out of coverage.
“You can't force somebody to enroll their children if they don't want to,” she said.
Cruz said the city has partnered with the Allegheny County Health Department; Allies for Children, a North Side child advocacy group; and the Consumer Health Coalition, a North Side health care advocacy.
The group plans to capitalize on programs such as the city's 311 complaint hotline and events held by community groups to push enrollment. She said 311 operators, for example, could inform callers about CHIP and Medicaid while fielding complaints.
“We're taking about Beltzhoover, or Allentown, or the North Side, or Homewood or any part of the city where you'll actually find children who are not insured,” said Patrick Dowd, executive director of Allies for Children and a former city councilman. “It's something we feel is important and we're looking forward to this partnership.”
Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mental health facility won’t take Franklin Regional stabbing suspect as patient
- Steelers film session: Harrison on the field often
- Steelers are vowing to fix the costly penalties, lack of self-discipline
- Body found in Allegheny River near Clemente Bridge
- Gunfire plagues New Kensington
- Mercer’s improved defense at shortstop gives Pirates a boost
- At least $100,000 in appliances stolen from new homes around Western Pa.
- 20 improbable Pirates wins in 2014
- Corbett: Downtown project will ‘make a huge difference’ in Pittsburgh
- Healthy again, Penguins’ Dupuis eager for game action
- Latest loss has Panthers looking for answers