The Nov. 13 editorial "Through the Cracks" focused on the rising percentage of children who do not have health insurance despite a 1997 program created to reverse this trend.

However, Indiana is having dramatic success in expanding access to health care for the children of the working poor, including families moving from welfare rolls to payrolls. Our state has made an aggressive effort to reach children newly eligible for Medicaid coverage under the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In the process, we also have signed up tens of thousands of children who previously were eligible for Medicaid but not enrolled.

Indiana geared up our version of CHIP, in May 1998. At the time, 210,473 children were enrolled in Medicaid. Today that number has grown to 322,035 -- a 53 percent increase. Of the 111,562 additional children coverered, 97,118 previously had no health insurance. The remainder had been underinsured.

To accomplish this, we integrated health care services with self-sufficiency services for families with limited incomes. To make the process easier, Indiana also:

Streamlined its Medicaid application form from more than 20 pages to both sides of a single sheet of paper.

Established a network of more than 500 enrollment sites in addition to welfare offices.

Enabled applicants to begin their enrollment process with a toll-free phone call and finish it by mail.

Worked with individual counties to plan how to find and enroll eligible children.


Governor of Indiana