Thank you for reading the Friday Fax

FEBRUARY 20, 1998 .......................................................................NUMBER 80


TOPICS IN THIS ISSUE INCLUDE:

PRESIDENT AND MRS. CLINTON VISIT THE NATIONAL CHILDREN'S MEDICAL CENTER

SSI UPDATE

STAND FOR CHILDREN


PRESIDENT AND MRS. CLINTON VISIT THE NATIONAL CHILDREN'S MEDICAL CENTER

On Wednesday, 18 February 1998, the President and Mrs. Clinton, accompanied by other cabinet members, visited the National Children’s Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and announced a series of new efforts to enroll uninsured children in health insurance programs.

A mother from southern Virginia shared her family’s perspective on health insurance before she introduced the President. The mother spoke about her three sons and the problems families face when they cannot afford insurance. She shared that a community helper from the Salvation Army told her about Medicaid which she was then able to access for two of her sons. She further stated that she has hopes that the Virginia Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will provide insurance coverage for her oldest son. Presenting before the top leaders in our nation and leading medical personnel, this mother told them what it is like to have to worry about your children’s health, when the choice financially is to choose insurance over shelter and food. She then introduced the President.

The President announced the first major state coverage expansions under the recently enacted Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and released information showing that many States will soon follow. He also unveiled an unprecedented set of public/private initiatives designed to enroll the millions of uninsured children who are eligible but not enrolled in Medicaid and other state-based children’s health programs. These initiatives have been designed to partnership with Governors, health care providers, children’s health advocates, foundations, businesses and many others who are committed to providing health care coverage for the nation’s uninsured children.

Over 10 million children in America are uninsured. Nearly 90 percent of these children have parents who work, but do not have access to or cannot afford health insurance. Over 3 million of these uninsured children are already eligible for Medicaid. However, many families are not aware that their children are eligible for Medicaid, and others have difficulty filling out the application. Similar problems could undermine the new Children’s Health Insurance Program’s goal to enroll millions of uninsured children. With these challenges in mind, the President:

Please access the NPND website to view the text that accompanied the bulleted items and for more details regarding the President’s speech.


SSI UPDATE

Friday Fax learned that the Social Security Administration (SSA) mailed letters to all of the families of children who had their cases reviewed and benefits denied last year, including all families who have or are appealing the decision regarding their child’s benefits. This mailing is the result of Commissioner Apfel’s inquiry into the matter and his wanting to make sure that mistakes are not being made. Basically, parents have 60 days to appeal, but if they want to receive benefits while their case is being re-reviewed, they must appeal within 10 days. If parents miss the 10 day deadline for continuation of benefits, SSA will still honor the request if parents can show good cause. In addition, benefits appending appeal will be retroactive to the date benefits were cut off. We were told that an “800” number for each state will be listed in the letter to parents to call for assistance. The letter will also contain a national source of assistance number (1-800-772-1213, ext. 6). As always, it is extremely important for parents receiving these letters to appeal immediately.

There were 4 specific points provided by SSA that are important for parents.

1. The letters contain the information regarding their right to appeal.

2. Most states have an “800” number for free legal information and advice.

3. There will be an automatic review of all children with mental retardation who have been terminated. This also includes any new applicants.

4. There will be extensive training for all SSA staff involved in review of children for eligibility. In the SSI report issued December 27, 1997, the total number of cases ceased was 136,428 (50.5% of the total number of cases processed).


STAND FOR CHILDREN

June 1, 1998 has been set aside as the nationwide “Stand for Children” day. Be sure to mark your calendars. Visit the Stand for Children website for more information: . Friday Fax will also keep you updated.