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Reaching Your Target Audience
AI/AN: Key Messages from AI/AN Research

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Document Type Cover Letters
Use these cover letters to help with your outreach efforts to tribal leaders, parents, school administrators and teachers, event coordinators, camp directors, prospective business partners and more.
File size: 57.3KB

Updated: 6.1.06      Printable Printable version

Effective messages motivate people to act in a specific way. These messages can capture the interest of parents and serve as a gateway to enrollment.

The following studies provide insights on the perceptions of Medicaid and SCHIP among AI/AN families1. Please note that this research is designed to provide a starting point for developing messages for AI/AN families. However, it should be supplemented with your own knowledge and localized for the tribe with which you are working.

• A national sample of 2,888 parents with a child under the age of 19 in the house--including a sub-sample of 126 respondents in New Mexico who identified themselves as Native American

• A qualitative study of 114 two-hour, one-on-one interviews, 26 of which were conducted among AI/AN parents living in New Mexico, which is part of a larger study that is the basis for all Covering Kids & Families promotional messages, advertisements and communications

Following are a few key findings from the studies:

• Most AI/AN parents interviewed did not think that their children would be eligible for Medicaid or SCHIP.

• Most AI/AN parents did not want to enroll for several reasons:

  • Belief that enrollment is unnecessary because they can receive care from IHS or elsewhere
  • Concern that they will not receive quality care
  • Concern that enrollment requires too much time and paperwork

• When compared to the national sample, AI/AN parents were more likely to report:

  • Greater stigma attached to doctor treatment and social pressure
  • Higher reliance on clinics and emergency room care
  • "Cold" or "negative" feelings about Medicaid or SCHIP
  • Hesitancy to enroll their children in Medicaid or SCHIP

• Forty-four percent of AI/AN parents of uninsured children said they would be extremely or very likely to enroll in SCHIP if they knew they were eligible. This percentage is much lower than the percentage for Caucasians (60%), African Americans (80%) and Latinos (81%).

• Sixty-two percent of AI/AN parents of uninsured children said they would be extremely or very likely to enroll in Medicaid if they knew they were eligible. While this percentage is higher than the percentage for Caucasian parents (57%), it is considerably lower than the percentage for African Americans (84%) and Latinos (76%).

• AI/AN parents are less certain about whether or not they would enroll their children in Medicaid or SCHIP. This, in part, follows the higher level of confusion over government programs and IHS among these parents. It also connects with the greater concerns reported about treatment and stigma.

• AI/AN parents of uninsured children are more likely to enroll their children in Medicaid or SCHIP if they believe that the programs cover prescriptions and immunizations (83%), provide help for low-income families (75%), and offer an insurance card (68%). Less than half of AI/AN parents of uninsured children (46%) said they would be more likely to enroll if they knew they could apply for coverage over the telephone.

• In-depth interviews with AI/AN parents revealed their concern that Medicaid and SCHIP coverage might not give them access to quality health care.

• Consistent with the interviews of most parents, AI/AN parents have the desire to be a good parent and reduce the worry and stress caused by finances and children's health so they can be happy and experience peace of mind. However, these feelings of parental pride are more prevalent among AI/AN parents than those of other ethnicities.

In summary, these surveys and interviews with AI/AN parents indicate the following actions may increase the effectiveness of communications:

  • Reinforce the importance of feeling a sense of pride and responsibility in caring for one's family.
  • Discuss benefits, like prescriptions, insurance cards and how the program can help low-income families.
  • Appeal to the strong desire to be a good parent and make thoughtful, informed decisions about their children's health care.
  • Emphasize that enrolling a child in the program will give the family a sense of relief, and the child's health care will be one less thing to worry about.

As the research suggests, when formulating messages that will resonate with Native communities, it is important to understand that AI/AN parents have many of the same concerns other Americans have about raising their children. They want to provide their children with a loving and safe home, a good education, a safe environment and a good doctor. Addressing these concerns appeals to parents and serves as a good starting point for how to conduct outreach.


12000 Research for Covering Kids & Families by Wirthlin Worldwide

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