How Medicaid and CHIP Can Support Student Success through Schools

In This Report:

Key Findings

  • Educators are increasingly focused on the role that physical and mental well-being play in academic success. Healthy children are more likely to attend school regularly, read on grade level, and graduate from high school on time.
  • Medicaid and CHIP, which cover 37 percent of school-age children, are crucial to keeping kids healthy and can help pay for school-based health services.
  • Schools are among the most efficient systems to reach children and families. They can identify children without health coverage and, in some cases, enroll them.

Seventh in a series of briefs on the future of children’s health care coverage


Recognizing that a healthy student is a better student, education and health officials have begun working closely in the past few years to integrate their efforts. Recent changes to federal education law, new grant programs and revised Medicaid rules have opened the door for further collaboration and better results for students. This work has become increasingly important amid a growing awareness of the role illness plays in school absenteeism and the urgent need for mental health services. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) play a key role in such partnerships, since these programs provide health coverage for 37 percent of school-age children and pay for many of the health services delivered to eligible children at school.

This paper examines how Medicaid can help schools better serve children and families and how schools can help students get the health care they need. It offers four recommendations to state and school district officials seeking closer linkages between health and education:

  1. Ensure every eligible student has health coverage.
  2. Help schools support and prioritize the comprehensive health needs of students as a pivotal factor in their ability to learn.
  3. Increase access to school-based or school-linked preventive health care.
  4. Help schools serve as resource “hubs” for families and caregivers especially in underserved or remote areas.

Full Report

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