Every day organizations throughout the state of Illinois are actively enrolling children in the state’s comprehensive health insurance program called All Kids. According to the All Kids website, All Kids Application Agents (AKAAs) are faith-based organizations, medical providers, unions, day care centers, local governments, and other community-based organizations that help families enroll in the state’s public health insurance programs. AKAAs provide families with the support and assistance they need to enroll in the state’s public health insurance programs. AKAAs are organizations and individuals that families trust, which is crucial in a process that asks families to provide personal information.
Imagine how many kids AKAAs could enroll if brought together for a single, community-wide, well-publicized event. This was the thinking behind the 1,000 Healthy Kids Campaign undertaken by Resurrection Health Care in the summer of 2008. Families are often unaware of the state’s option for uninsured children. By partnering with organizations that families trust and getting the word out about the program and the event, the 1,000 Healthy Kids Campaign was able to enroll over 1,000 kids in All Kids in one day.
The 1,000 Healthy Kids Campaign enlisted the help of community leaders to ensure that their event was a success. Involving people in the community who families already know and trust is a crucial part of a successful event. Rosemary Kaminski and Andrea Hernandez at the Laboure Outpatient Center at St. Joseph Hospital, which is part of the Resurrection Health Care network, enroll children everyday at the clinic, hold an annual health fair, and were a pivotal part of the 1,000 Healthy Kids Campaign. Kaminski says that the trust and reputation the clinic has goes a long way in getting families enrolled in All Kids, “We get referrals from our patients and they know we’re here…There is a big trust there.”
Those involved in the planning, preparation, and execution of the event said that seeing their hard work come to fruition on the day of the event made their work worth it. Julie Derrig, who was part of the team that planned the event and served as a field captain on the day of the event, recounts that by 8:30 a.m. families were already lining up to enroll their kids in All Kids.
The 1,000 Healthy Kids Campaign event successfully enrolled over 1,000 kids, but equally important the campaign made the people of the City of Chicago aware of a wonderful program available to families. The effort equipped families with the information and tools to enroll their children in health insurance, even if they were not able to enroll on the day of the event. Although the event was Chicago-based, the event headquarters received phone calls from families in Lake County looking for information. Outreach and education around All Kids can be as important as enrolling people in the program.
The success of the 1,000 Healthy Kids Campaign can serve as inspiration for other enrollment events. However, organizations and communities should not feel like an effort is futile unless they can enroll 1,000 kids. Every kid enrolled in All Kids is another kid who will have access to the health care they need and another kid who will be connected to a primary care doctor. Check out the Shriver Center’s All Kids Enrollment Event Toolkit for more information on executing an enrollment or outreach event in your community.
This post was coauthored by Carrie Gilbert.