Friday, September 13, 2013

Schools Can Play a Key Role in Reducing the Number of Uninsured WI Children

Wisconsin could have 36,000 fewer uninsured children if it uses the health care reform law to achieve Massachusetts’ low, 1.8% rate of children lacking insurance. That’s the conclusion of a new WCCF report analyzing recently released Census Bureau data.

Tapping the full potential of the health care reform law and making a large dent in Wisconsin’s substantial population of uninsured children (and much larger number of uninsured adults) will require a concerted effort by many organizations and individuals in the public and private sector. The new WCCF report outlines some of the potential ways that schools can play a big part in ensuring that children have access to the health care they need to be able to thrive in the classroom and reach their full potential.

In addition to distributing information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and BadgerCare to children and parents, some of the other options include:
  • Train school nurses and social workers to help inform and enroll students and their parents, or partner with community organizations that offer help applying.
  • Invite local experts to speak at PTA meetings and other events to share information about health insurance options and how to enroll.
  • Provide ACA information to school and community pre-K programs, and include it as part of the parent involvement activities offered by 4-year-old kindergarten programs.
  • Make the school’s computer lab available to parents who do not have a computer or Internet access at home, but are able to apply without help.
  • Stay informed about health care reform changes and request additional information or training from local partners, such as Covering Kids and Families.
 A more comprehensive list of options for school involvement in helping children get insured can be found here.

Read more in WCCF’s report about who's uninsured, the opportunities and challenges for using the ACA to insure far more kids in our state, and the ways that schools can play a very important role in making sure that children are insured and ready to learn.

Jon Peacock

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