Sunday, March 4, 2012

CMS Joins with Text4Baby

CMS announced that the agency will partner with Text4Baby, a free national health texting service, to promote enrollment in both Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The goal is to provide pregnant women and new mothers with free text messages on important healthcare issues.

Activities are already taking place in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and other states. For example, applicants using an online application to applying 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 Health Kids (the State’s children’s health insurance program) on the envelopes used to send birth certificates to families with newborns, and Oklahoma hospitals are being encouraged to connect new mothers to Text4Baby when they enroll newborns in Medicaid right after birth.

“The partnership announced today will help encourage eligible mothers and children to enroll in Medicaid and CHIP”, said Marilyn Tavenner, CMS Acting Administrator. “Text4Baby users will be alerted to the availability of health insurance options, and we are encouraging our partners and other organizations to help get children enrolled in health coverage and to make sure that new moms know how to sign up with Text4Baby for all kinds of health tips and reminders.”

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. The message alert provides a connection to the “insureKidsNow” phone number and web site for information on signing up. Additional messages will be periodically sent to provide Text4Baby users information on the importance of prenatal visits for women, the value of health coverage for keeping children healthy, and the need to help babies and children get the care they need when they are sick.