Lessons for emerging state Children's Health Insurance Premium Assistance programs: Case study of the Massachusetts Masshealth Family Assistance Program (MHFAP)
Providing health insurance coverage for vulnerable populations such as low-income high-risk children with limited access to health care is a challenge for many states. Over the past decade, higher private insurance premiums and unpredictable labor markets have increased the number of uninsured and underinsured children nationwide. Due to recent economic downfalls, many states such as Texas, have expressed interest in using premium assistance programs to increase enrollment of low income children and families in private coverage through employer sponsored health insurance. Massachusetts has been especially successful in reducing the number of uninsured children through the implementation of MassHealth Family Assistance Program (MHFAP), an employer based premium assistance program. The purpose of this study is to identify key implementation factors of a fully established premium assistance program which may provide lessons and facilitate implementation of emerging premium assistance programs. The case study of the fully established MassHealth Family Assistance Program (MHFAP) has illustrated the ability of states to expand their Medicaid and SCHIP programs in order to provide affordable health coverage to uninsured and underinsured low income children and their families. As demonstrated by MHFAP, the success of a premium assistance program depends on four key factors: (1) determination of participant and employer eligibility; (2) determination of employer benefits meeting benchmark equivalency (Medicaid or State Children's Health Insurance Program); (3) the use of appropriate marketing and outreach strategies; and (4) establishment of adequate monitoring and reporting techniques. Successful implementation strategies, revealed by the case study of the Massachusetts MassHealth Family Assistance Program, may be used by emerging premium assistance programs, such as Texas Children's Health Insurance Premium Assistance Program (CHIP-PA) toward establishment of an effective, efficient, and equitable employer sponsored health program.
Fouladi, Negin N, "Lessons for emerging state Children's Health Insurance Premium Assistance programs: Case study of the Massachusetts Masshealth Family Assistance Program (MHFAP)" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1457563.