The Centers for Medicaid & Medicaid Services (CMS) will partner with Text4Baby, a free national health texting service to promote enrollment in both Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), to provide pregnant women and new mothers free text messages on healthcare issues. The announcement is part of activities marking the anniversaries of both the signing of the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA) and the launch of Text4Baby.
“As a mother, I know how important health coverage and health information is for pregnant women and new moms,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “Through CHIPRA, the health care law and this partnership, we are helping more and more women across the country have the insurance and information they need to have healthy babies and keep them healthy as they grow up.”
Organizations across the country are using the CHIPRA and Text4Baby anniversaries to highlight how access to both health coverage and health information is critical for families. For example, applicants using an online application to apply for Medicaid and CHIP in San Diego will now be able to enroll with Text4Baby directly; the Florida Department of Health will place contact information for both Text4Baby and Florida Healthy Kids (the State’s children’s health insurance program) on the envelopes used to send birth certificates to families with newborns.
In 2011, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program covered 43.5 million children. Under CHIPRA, CMS has awarded a total of $90 million in grants to states, Tribes, nonprofit groups, schools, health care providers and others to conduct activities to ensure that eligible children are enrolled in health coverage and remain enrolled for as long as they qualify. More than 184,000 current Text4Baby users are receiving a new message alerting them to the availability of free and low-cost health coverage through Medicaid and CHIP.
“Text4Baby users will be alerted to the availability of health insurance options, and we are encouraging our partners and other organizations working to help get children enrolled in health coverage to make sure that new moms know how to sign up with Text4Baby for all kinds of health tips and reminders,” Marilyn Tavenner, CMS Acting Administrator, said in a statement.
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