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University Health receives new three-year, $1.5 million Connecting Kids to Coverage grant

As the public health emergency ends, a $1.5 million grant to University Health’s CareLink program will help make sure children won’t fall through the health care gap.

The grant continues funding for Connecting Kids to Coverage, which has helped us enroll 5,815 Bexar County children in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Medicaid, as well as to renew coverage for 3,035 more children.

It’s especially important now. When the federal government declared a public health emergency due to COVID-19, they authorized automatic renewals of Medicaid coverage. When the public health emergency ended last spring, continuous automatic Medicaid renewals ended with it. This meant qualified individuals, including children enrolled in Medicaid, would need to renew the coverage each year to continue receiving their benefits.

Funded by Connecting Kids to Coverage, the team from CareLink, University Health’s financial assistance program, jumped in to help ensure families were aware of the change and to support them through the renewal process.

They have already helped Shea Schilleci’s family.

Schilleci is a working single mom of two, and when continuous Medicaid coverage ended, she faced a complex annual renewal process for each of her children. Fortunately, she would not have to do it alone. Jesus Hernandez Alvarez with the CareLink team contacted Schilleci to offer assistance before her children’s Medicaid coverage lapsed.

“Anyone with kids knows that extra help is always nice. Jesus took away my stress because I did not have to complete the renewal myself,” Schilleci said. “Jesus’ help was a huge timesaver. He efficiently guided me through the Medicaid renewal process, giving me the confidence of knowing that my children would have insurance coverage. It is very important because I can rest easy knowing their health care needs are covered.”

More than half a million children in Texas have been denied Medicaid coverage because of procedural errors, such as outdated addresses, or language barriers. Connecting Kids to Coverage helps parents navigate those bureaucratic challenges.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant again. The renewal will be used to continue educating thousands of local families on how to enroll or re-enroll in health care insurance before their coverage lapses,” said Sonia Rogers, operations director at CareLink.

CareLink contacts individuals before their health care coverage is due for renewal. The program also helps families navigate the application process in both virtual and in-person sessions. The assistance is available in multiple languages. These benefits are possible because of the Connecting Kids to Coverage grant.

“We do not want to see any family miss the opportunity to renew their health coverage. Connecting Kids to Coverage will help us to continue providing support services to ensure families are successful in accessing the health care coverage they need,” Rogers said.

For more information about CareLink at University Health, visit our CareLink page.

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