‘Covering Kids’ Begins Outreach

D.C. Shop Steers Philanthropy’s $26 Mil. Public Awareness Push
ATLANTA–The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s national outreach to parents of uninsured children who qualify for low-cost medical coverage kicks off this week.
Greer, Margolis, Mitchell, Burns & Associates in Washington, D.C., is handling marketing and public relations for the $26 million campaign. The media budget is $18 million.
The Princeton, N.J.-based foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to healthcare issues, is funding the effort.
“Covering Kids” is the theme of the public awareness campaign.
“Of the 11 million American children who are uninsured, seven million of them could have healthcare coverage today,” said Dr. Steven Schroeder, RWJF president and CEO. “We must reach out to them.”
The shop’s broadcast and print campaign launches in six markets this week as part of a back-to-school enrollment drive: Albuquerque, N.M.; Baltimore; Boise, Idaho; Fresno, Calif.; Green-ville, N.C.; and Springfield, Ill.
A second phase, beginning later this fall, will expand into other markets and use PTA meetings and school festivals as enrollment venues.
GMMB and a handful of undisclosed agencies responded to a foundation request for proposal about 18 months ago.
In January, the shop was awarded marketing and public relations duties. It will also provide technical support to community groups over the three-year course of the national enrollment drives.
Healthcare benefits for kids are provided under the federally funded State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). All 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia have access to SCHIP funding.
“People just assume the [medical coverage] programs are ‘not for me.’ They must be for people on welfare,'” said GMMB senior vice president Jay Toscano. “So we’re really hitting parents over the head, letting them know if you work, you’re still eligible.”
Income eligibility cutoffs vary from state to state. For example, the annual eligibility level for a family of four in Greenville, N.C., is approximately $30,000; in Boise, Idaho, it is $25,000.
In Georgia, Covering Kids will target parents using back-to-school immunization drives, PTA meetings and fall festivals. In Utah, applications for free lunch programs will include information about SCHIP health coverage. K