students-oral healthRight now, an estimated 3.7 million children in our country are eligible but not enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage—which includes dental care. Their parents or caregivers may not know how to enroll or even realize that their children are eligible. Let’s do our part to reach these families and help connect children to coverage.

CHIP and Medicaid provide access to oral health care for millions of children in the United States, covering services such as teeth cleanings, check-ups, x-rays, and fluoride treatments. By informing caregivers about Medicaid and CHIP, we can help ensure that kids have ongoing access to these services.

Eligibility depends on income, family size, and the rules in each state. In almost every state, children in families with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($47,700 per year for a family of four) are covered. In Kentucky, a family of four is eligible for Medicaid if their income is less than $32,499 per year.

Families can visit this web page to find out if their children are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP. Parents and caregivers can apply online, by phone, by mail or in person. If children are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, there’s no need to wait for an “open enrollment” period; they can enroll now. Visit InsureKidsNow to learn more about Medicaid, CHIP, and the Connecting Kids to Coverage national campaign.

Another way you can help is to ensure these vital programs remain in the future. Federal funding for CHIP expires on September 30, 2015. Without federal action in the next few months, state CHIP programs will need to start changing eligibility rules, leaving many children without coverage. Currently, 84,069 children in Kentucky count on CHIP for their medical and dental coverage.  Two bills before Congress this session would extend CHIP funding: (1) the PRO-CHIP bill introduced by Democrats in the House and Senate and (2) a discussion draft of a bill released by Senate and House Republicans. The Kentucky Oral Health Coalition urges you to contact your Kentucky Congressional members to support extending federal funding of the CHIP program through 2019.

Ways to act:

1. Sign the Kentucky Oral Health Coalition’s letter of support to extend CHIP funding.

2. Contact your Kentucky Congressional members and urge them to support federal extensions for CHIP.