In 2003, The Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) Gateway debuted as California's largest effort to enroll children in health insurance coverage through their health providers' offices. The Gateway is an automated process that has two primary goals: (1) to pre-enroll children into temporary, full-scope Medi-Cal coverage after a CHDP health assessment; and (2) to facilitate longer-term enrollment in the Medi-Cal and Healthy Families programs through a follow-up paper application. Three years into the program, it is important to know how well it is working. The California healthcare Foundation funded research to: (1) look at the program's performance; (2) identify its successes and challenges; and (3) make recommendations for improvement. Although the CHDP Gateway is succeeding in its first goal--pre-enrolling children into temporary, full-scope Medi-Cal and healthy Families, it has been far less successful in its second goal--linking children to continuous coverage. Key findings: (1) Approximately 600,000 children were pre-enrolled in temporary Medi-Cal through the CHDP Gateway in one year. (2) In more than 90 percent of pre-enrollments, families requested a joint application for Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, but fewer than 20 percent returned them in time to have their children's temporary eligibility extended. (3) Denial rates for continuous coverage were high, mostly because of a "failure to cooperate" with follow-up requests for information. (4) Approximately 75,000 Gateway children gained continuous Medi-Cal or healthy Families coverage. This represents 11 percent of pre-enrollees, or one in nine, gaining long-term full-scope Medi-Cal or healthy Families coverage through the Gateway. The rate rises to 12 percent when children with continuous limited-scope Medi-Cal are included. (5) Approximately 64,000 children under age one were automatically "deemed eligible" for full-scope Medi-Cal continuously until age one during the study year.
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