Connecting Kids to Coverage: A Role for Each of Us

Undeniably, there is a lot of buzz right now around the new health care law. Here are some key points we keep hearing:

  • If you’re between the ages of 19 – 64 and don’t have health insurance, visit to find competitively priced coverage options that meet your needs and budget;
  • The open enrollment period ends March 31, 2014. Don’t delay;
  • Most people qualify for financial assistance to help lower their cost.

Knowing how and when you may qualify for affordable health coverage is important information. There is one crucial point not listed above, though, that we want to highlight for families:

For Texas families with children under age 19 who earn between 138% - 200% of the federal poverty level, (i.e. a family of four earning between about $32,500 - $47,100), the March 31st enrollment deadline does not apply to their children.  Stated another way, children who qualify for health care coverage through CHIP or Children’s Medicaid may applyany time throughout the year, and they can do it here.  [Note: Parents of children deemed eligible for CHIP must still apply for coverage for themselves through the Marketplace by March 31.]

Helping families understand and navigate the often challenging, confusing process of getting health care, especially for their kids, is important work.  And, it takes a community to make an impact. One great example of community players working together to make a real difference is the 15-year partnership between the organization CDF Texas and the Texas grocery chain Fiesta Mart Inc. Together, they raise awareness and increase enrollment in CHIP and Children’s Medicaid through outreach at Fiesta supermarkets. Meeting families where they live, learn, work, and in this case, shop for food, has proven to be quite an effective strategy in reaching eligible uninsured children and connecting them to coverage.

The partnership between CDF Texas and Fiesta, which has enrolled tens of thousands of our state's uninsured children in Medicaid and CHIP, and has been recognized as a national best practice, is the featured subject of this new short video by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The video speaks to the important role businesses can have in building up not only the economic prosperity of a community, but in lifting up the health and wellbeing of children and families, too.

“We were shopping for beans and rice and came out with health insurance!” is a really great line. But, don’t take our word for it, watch for yourself, and share it on Facebook or Twitter to spread the word about an effective solution to getting more children and families covered.

Written by: Anat Kelman Shaw, Communications Director, Children’s Defense Fund-Texas