Using Information from Income Tax Forms to Target Medicaid and CHIP Outreach: Preliminary Results of the Maryland Kids First Act

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The Maryland Kids First Act was signed into law in May 2008. It directed the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to use the state’s personal income tax system to target outreach efforts to children who might be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP (in Maryland, known as the Maryland Children’s Health Program, or MCHP). To study whether this outreach strategy is effective, the State Health Access Reform Evaluation (SHARE) Program, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, commissioned DHMH and its partner, The Hilltop Institute, to evaluate the outreach effort. Hilltop researchers performed the study on behalf of DHMH. The brief highlights the findings and identifies 10 lessons learned from the experience so far, addressing issues such as data-sharing, health literacy, inclusion/exclusion criteria, tracking mechanisms, and the circumstances under which legislation is necessary in order to implement tax-based outreach.