Houston Improves Health Insurance for Kids

An effort to enroll every eligible child in a health insurance program has reached a milestone. More than thirty-thousand children in Harris County were added to the Children’s Health Insurance Program over the past year. Laurie Johnson has more.

The 100% Campaign was launched last August. It’s a partnership between the Children’s Defense Fund and HISD. The goal is to make sure every child in the school district has health insurance. Children’s Defense Fund Texas Director Barbara Best says Texas has the highest rate of uninsured children.

“We had been moving backwards, 2003 budget cuts caused 200,000 children to lose CHIP health coverage, more than 31,000 in Harris County. But the good news is that CHIP is back on track and CHIP is on the rise. Since the start of the last school year, Harris County CHIP enrollment has increased by more than 33,000 children. Again we’ve recaptured all 31,000 children that lost coverage have been re-enrolled.”

Schools in HISD made automated phone calls to more than 17,000 households, encouraging parents to enroll their children. And Best says caseworkers trained parents on not only how to enroll, but also how to utilize health benefits.

“We’ve been focused so much on enrolling children in coverage, but we’ve also got to make sure that families know how to use this coverage once enrolled. They know when to go to the emergency room, how to use 24-hour nurse call lines.”

The 100% Campaign is so successful that the Houston Endowment is going to fund its expansion. Right now it’s focused on HISD, but will soon spread to other school districts in the region.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Executive Producer for News

Laurie Johnson leads daily news coverage for HPM. She helps reporters craft and sharpen their stories on tight deadlines, with the aim of getting the most relevant and current information into local newscasts. Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. She is...

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