This blog post also appears on MomsRising.org.
There are well-known reasons why promoting enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) makes sense for cities, but it isn’t just about better health outcomes—it’s also about financial empowerment. Just one medical emergency can bankrupt a family and cause devastating long-term financial hardship. City leaders invested in reducing poverty understand that connecting low-income families to Medicaid and CHIP is an effective financial empowerment strategy because doing so relieves families of significant financial burdens associated with medical care, which can lead to greater family financial stability.
Additionally, providing supports to whole families—kids and parents—can be effective in breaking the cycle of poverty. When parents have health insurance, studies show they feel healthier, both mentally and physically, and are more likely to take advantage of preventative care. This leads to increased productivity at work and more confidence in their abilities to support their family. Also, when parents enroll in health insurance, they are more likely to enroll their children and take advantage of preventative care for them as well.
As trusted messengers, city leaders are well-positioned to promote financial empowerment by connecting families to Medicaid and CHIP. The Centers for Medicaid and CHIP Services has designed new materials to increase enrollment, which can be customized for your community! Eligible families can enroll in Medicaid and CHIP 365 days a year, so spread the word!
About the Author: Dawn Schluckebier is an Associate for Family Economic Success at NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families.