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Medicaid and SCHIP Retention in Challenging Times: Strategies from Managed Care Organizations


Efforts to reduce the number of low-income uninsured children and families have focused on expanding eligibility for public insurance programs and finding ways to facilitate enrollment in these programs. Another key factor that contributes to reducing the number of uninsured is the retention of eligible beneficiaries once they are enrolled. This has become an increasing priority in recent years, with a number of states pursuing effective and cost-efficient strategies to ensure appropriate retention. Managed care organizations (MCOs) contracting with states for the delivery of health services to people enrolled in Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) are natural partners in this effort, and a number have developed projects designed to educate their members about the process of renewing eligibility and assist members with necessary paperwork. This paper profiles some of the projects undertaken by MCOs to improve retention, and discusses the obstacles to developing a successful retention project, as well as strategies for overcoming these obstacles.