Tracking Your Success
Retention: The Environment

Updated: 6.1.06

A focus on enrollment, not retention:
Experts believe that most of the emphasis in states has been on attracting new families to Medicaid and SCHIP and not as much on keeping them enrolled. Retention is a relatively new focus and states are still experimenting with ways to retain families.

States are concentrating their improvement efforts on the renewal process:
This makes sense given that one study of SCHIP in three states found that roughly half of all enrolled families fall off the program during the renewal period. For this reason, many states are making changes to ease the renewal process. There also has been an increase in outreach and communications efforts on the grassroots level to help families successfully complete the renewal process. In addition, a number of states have improved their renewal notices, such as including a preaddressed, postage-paid envelope, sending out reminders to families if they have not returned the forms, and other steps to inform families and help them renew.

States do not seem to be creating media campaigns about retention:
Budget concerns are one reason. Some experts believe that states have much less money these days to promote Medicaid and SCHIP. Another reason is that states do not seem to know as much about what messages work for retention, although some believe the same kinds of messages that work for enrollment will also work for retention. Finally, some experts believe that statewide media campaigns may not be the best way to promote retention and instead feel that local, grassroots efforts to help families complete the renewal process can have more of an effect.

For a full report on the retention of and enrollment environment around Medicaid and SCHIP, download the Covering Kids & Families Communications Strategies for SCHIP and Medicaid Retention guide.