Thousands of Texas children eligible, not enrolled in public insurance

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The top Texas health official says more than half of the state's children eligible for the Children's Health Insurance Program or Medicaid aren't enrolled.

Albert Hawkins is the state's executive commissioner for Health and Human Services. He says more than 850,000 of the 1 1/2 million Texas children who don't have health insurance are eligible for but not enrolled in CHIP or Medicaid.

Hawkins made the statement Tuesday during an appearance with Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn. He told the Texas senator the state has begun new efforts to reach eligible families.

Children's advocates say the numbers underscore the urgency of spreading the word about the programs, which provide health insurance for one in three Texas children.

The enrollment problem is not unique to Texas. The Children's Defense Fund says that of the nine million uninsured American children, six million meet their state's CHIP or Medicaid requirements but aren't enrolled.

Information from: Austin American-Statesman,