Enrollment up in statewide program for uninsured children

In Moffat County, 42 percent of eligible children signed up for state insurance program

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Enrollment in the Colorado Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) is up across the state and in Moffat and Routt counties. Recent enrollment drives in the two counties have been successful, bringing the total children in the program up to 125 in Moffat County, 75 in Routt County and 21,900 across the state.

As of June 1998, only 48 children were enrolled in Moffat County.

CHP+ is an insurance plan for children whose parents make too much money to qualify for Medicare, but remain uninsured. A federal block grant, along with state funds, allowed for the creation of the program, which is state-regulated insurance offering special premiums for low-income families. Monthly premiums range from nothing to $30 per month for the highest income bracket. Office visit copayments can range from nothing to $5 per visit.

For two months, the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) sponsored a special CHP+ enrollment campaign called Healthy Kids for Our County. The campaign included program marketing, advertising and booths at county fairs in Routt and Moffat counties. The VNA gave away bike helmets with each application and still has some remaining for anyone who applies.

The Healthy Kids campaign enrolled 19 more children in the program.

"Even though only 19 were enrolled, we still feel the event was successful because we really got the word out," said Marilyn Bouldin, director of community care for the VNA.

It is still not enough, she said.

In Moffat County, 301 children are eligible for the program giving Moffat County a 42 percent enrollment rate. The enrollment in Routt County is 28 percent with about 194 children remaining who are eligible.

"We still have a long way to go," Bouldin said.

There are two factors Bouldin believes prevent people from applying for the program: they don't know about it and the application process can be intimidating.

"People don't realize the benefits of this program," she said.

The VNA solution to those problems is Debbie Belleville. Belleville has been hired to work four days each week for CHP+. One of her duties is to increase enrollment. She will help people fill out the application and send it in for them. For those embarrassed or intimidated by the process, she will schedule a home visit to fill out the application.

A new computer program is available that allows the application to be processed immediately and returns an answer the same day.

Youth ages 18 and under who are not eligible for Medicaid and who live in a qualified family are eligible for the program.

Under the plan, a family of four with a combined income of less than $30,895 would qualify with a premium of $30 per month. A family of four whose combined income is less than $16,700 would have no premium.

Even if a person's income is too high, they are still encouraged to apply because CHP+ may deduct certain expenses.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call Belleville at the VNA.

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