Skip to main content
off the charts

New Guide: Using Schools to Reach Uninsured Families

Nearly half of the nation’s uninsured people who are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) live in families with at least one school-age child, research shows.  That makes schools a good place to reach uninsured families.  Our new guide details the lessons learned — the successful models and the challenges — from years of school-based outreach.

For decades, school leaders, community organizations, health care providers, and civic groups have tested various school-based strategies to highlight the importance of health insurance and help families enroll in Medicaid, CHIP, and marketplace health plans.  Their efforts have furnished lessons and best practices that groups can follow to help more families get the health coverage they need.  While school-based outreach can be time- and labor-intensive, school administrators and others engaged in this work now have successful models to use. 

Our guide covers the importance of school-based outreach and provides practical advice for launching new outreach efforts.  It describes lessons that can help groups avoid outreach approaches that have yielded disappointing results, and it shares strategies that experts across the country identified as important to their success.  

The interviews we conducted with outreach experts revealed five key ingredients for success, including: 

  • Involving school leadership
  • Conducting strategic outreach
  • Providing application assistance
  • Safeguarding privacy and confidentiality
  • Having a realistic funding plan

Finally, the guide includes an extensive list of online resources and school outreach contacts — information that school administrators and outreach groups can use as they start the school year and aim to reduce the number of uninsured students and families across the country.