Texas Stages Review for CHIP

Agency Sought for New Children’s Health Insurance Program
DALLAS–The state of Texas is holding its first review for the account of a new program designed to provide children from low-income families with health insurance.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) account includes media buying and planning, and is valued at $2 million.
Letters of intent to participate in the review were due last Friday. Finalists will be selected Sept. 17, and the contract will be awarded Oct. 18.
Respondents have been asked to provide two case histories of integrated advertising campaigns and at least one example of work demonstrating “experience with culturally competent, multimedia, statewide campaigns.”
Finalists will submit creative proposals, which will be field-tested on six focus groups contracted by CHIP.
CHIP, which is overseen by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, was authorized in May by the Texas Legislature. An earlier phase of the program expanded Medicaid coverage to teenagers, 15-18.
“Phase Two is garnering the most attention and is a much larger segment,” said Health and Human Services representative Charles Stuart. “We anticipate ultimately enrolling 400,000 uninsured children in this non-Medicaid, new health insurance program.”
As the program gears up, simultaneous requests for proposals are out for administrative services and an HMO provider. Additional questionnaires are due out for dental services administration, quality monitoring and community-based outreach services.
A strong advertising effort is needed to quickly get CHIP on its feet, particularly with Texas facing a federal investigation concerning whether the state improperly excluded people from Medicaid or the new insurance program.
Although funds for CHIP became available in 1997, Texas has lagged behind other states in implementing the program.
In other state business, the Texas Lottery Commission has also issued a new request for proposal, seeking an agency to produce two 60-second radio programs per week featuring lottery news. The programs will be broadcast in both English and Spanish.
The budget for the program was not disclosed in the request for proposal. Lottery commission officials did not respond to Adweek by press time last week.