Using Information from Income Tax Forms to Target Medicaid and CHIP Outreach: Preliminary Results of the Maryland Kids First Act

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State Health Access Data Assistance Center

The state of Maryland has started to use adjusted gross income and various data from tax forms as an outreach method to target households with children qualified for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Through the Maryland Kids First Act, enacted in May 2008, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) was required to use information from tax forms about whether dependent children in the family were insured, in order to target eligible children. The state was able to gather data on how many children were and were not insured in each household and supply the households with information on Medicaid and CHIP.

First, taxpayers were notified about whether their children were eligible in terms of household income. They were also given information on how to enroll, but were not asked for information on health care coverage status. In the second phase of the act, taxpayers were asked for information on health care coverage status for each dependent child. Families whose incomes made them eligible were sent Medicaid and CHIP applications, as well as instructions on steps to take to enroll.

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