Online Extra: Illinois' All Kids Program: June 2009

In 2005, Illinois enacted legislation to create the All Kids program and became the first state to offer universal coverage to children. The program uses Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program and state-only funds to provide access to comprehensive health coverage to all children under 19, regardless of family income or immigration status. All Kids participants may be required to pay premiums based on family income.

About six months before the All Kids program was implemented, the state initiated an aggressive enrollment effort to enroll kids. An outside marketing firm was hired and it used health fairs, back-to-school events, bus tours and advertising to raise awareness about the program. The state also expanded its application agent program, allowing community-based organizations and other qualified individuals, such as medical providers and insurance agents, to sign children up for All Kids. They were paid $50 payment for each application submitted that resulted in new coverage.

A 2007 Kaiser Family Foundation report found that most of these outreach techniques are effective. By April 2007, nine months into the program, All Kids reached its one-year enrollment goal of 50,000 new children. Illinois now insures more than 1.5 million children under All Kids.

The state recently received a four-year grant of nearly $1 million from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to maintain and expand outreach and enrollment efforts.