Children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness are more likely to suffer from illness and chronic health problems that jeopardize their development, learning, and overall well being. They are likely to be eligible for Medicaid, but may face barriers enrolling and staying enrolled. SchoolHouse Connection is particularly concerned about the potential loss of access to quality and affordable health care due to current changes to Medicaid.
What is happening?
The majority of all children in the United States rely on Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as their source of health coverage. During the pandemic, children and families have been able to stay on their Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage without having to complete any renewal paperwork.
If enrollees do not submit renewal paperwork on time, or if they are no longer eligible for Medicaid, coverage terminations could start as soon as April 1, 2024. This transition, known as the “unwinding,” is anticipated to result in approximately 6.7 million children losing their Medicaid coverage, even though a large majority of them remain eligible for either Medicaid or CHIP.
What can schools, educators, social workers, and community partners do?
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, created a toolkit that includes social media templates, graphics, a one-pager, email template to parents, and a robo call script to assist in outreach efforts.
Send these key messages to families:
- Families with children or other family members on Medicaid will once again need to complete the eligibility renewal process for Medicaid or risk losing their coverage.
- Families with Medicaid should contact their state Medicaid office now and make sure their contact information and mailing address is up to date.
- Families should check where they receive mail, fill out a renewal form if they receive one – which could happen at some point this year or early next year – and return it ASAP to avoid losing Medicaid or CHIP coverage.
- If they no longer qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, they may be able to get affordable health coverage through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace. To learn more, visit HealthCare.gov (or your state-based marketplace) or call 1-800-318-2596.
Lessons from Evanston/Skokie III District in Illinois
With around 700 out of 6,200 students on Medicaid, Maredeth Teamer, a former social worker and special education teacher, collaborated with local groups to gather resources for potential impacts of the rule change. She’s engaged with school staff, particularly special education coordinators, to address families’ queries and provide printed materials in schools for families without internet access. The district initiated discussions well ahead of the unwinding, enabling informed assistance to families through referrals to supportive community organizations.