Oakwood joins 'Enroll Michigan' coalition

More than 127,000 children in Michigan are uninsured and it doesn’t have to be that way.

Oakwood Healthcare, Inc, joined a coalition of Michigan hospitals, school districts and Community Health Centers in a back-to-school campaign to enroll eligible children in the state’s low-cost and free health insurance programs known as MIChild and Healthy Kids. The Enroll Michigan coalition includes the Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA), the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) and the Middle Cities Education Association (MCEA). The eight-week campaign is part of a year-long effort of the Enroll Michigan coalition to enroll as many of Michigan’s more than 127,000 uninsured and eligible children as is possible in the two programs.

“This care is critical for detecting health conditions at an earlier stage,” said Brian Connolly, president and CEO of Oakwood Healthcare, Inc., which provides health care to patients throughout southeast Michigan. “Introducing children to prevention and wellness care also teaches them the importance of developing healthy habits. These lessons last a lifetime.”

Most of those eligible for MIChild or Healthy Kids have not enrolled for reasons including language barriers, lack of transportation or means of communication (telephone access) and unawareness of eligibility and/or how to enroll, according to Kim Sibilsky, executive director of the MPCA. Enroll Michigan has been working since March to connect the families of eligible children to MPCA Community Navigators to complete the simplified online, telephone and in-person enrollment processes.

“A child who gets health care in the right place at the right time is better prepared to learn and less likely to develop serious, costly medical conditions,” said Sibilsky. “The goal of the Enroll Michigan back-to-school project is to help more Michigan children get affordable coverage, obtain the care they need, and become healthier and happier students.”

It’s easier than ever to enroll, according to Spencer Johnson, president of the MHA. Families with children who have no health insurance can call 2-1-1, email enroll@mpca.net or visit the Enroll Michigan website, www.enrollmichigan.com.

“The process to enroll eligible children has been simplified significantly, and the quality of care and services available through MIChild and Healthy Kids are high,” Johnson said.

“Healthy kids can consistently attend school and aren’t distracted with avoidable medical conditions that can set them back,” added Ray Telman, executive director of the MCEA. “Let’s make sure kids return to school this fall with the best school supply there is — their health.”

The coalition recently launched a gift card incentive program June 1 which gives $10 gift cards to people who refer a child to coverage through Enroll Michigan. The gift card program runs through Sept. 30 or until supplies last.