A Successful Program for Training Parent Mentors to Provide Assistance With Obtaining Health Insurance for Uninsured Children

Published:November 30, 2014DOI:



      Seven million US children lack health insurance. Community health workers are effective in insuring uninsured children, and parent mentors (PMs) in improving asthmatic children's outcomes. It is unknown, however, whether a training program can result in PMs acquiring knowledge/skills to insure uninsured children. The study aim was to determine whether a PM training program results in improved knowledge/skills regarding insuring uninsured minority children.


      Minority parents in a primary-care clinic who already had Medicaid/Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)-covered children were selected as PMs, attending a 2-day training session addressing 9 topics. A 33-item pretraining test assessed knowledge/skills regarding Medicaid/CHIP, the application process, and medical homes. A 46-item posttest contained the same 33 pretest items (ordered differently) and 13 Likert-scale questions on training satisfaction.


      All 15 PMs were female and nonwhite, 60% were unemployed, and the mean annual income was $20,913. After training, overall test scores (0–100 scale) significantly increased, from a mean of 62 (range 39–82) to 88 (range 67–100) (P < .01), and the number of wrong answers decreased (mean reduction 8; P < .01). Significant improvements occurred in 6 of 9 topics, and 100% of PMs reported being very satisfied (86%) or satisfied (14%) with the training. Preliminary data indicate PMs are significantly more effective than traditional Medicaid/CHIP outreach/enrollment in insuring uninsured minority children.


      A PM training program resulted in significant improvements in knowledge and skills regarding outreach to and enrollment of uninsured, Medicaid/CHIP-eligible children, with high levels of satisfaction with the training. This PM training program might be a useful model for training Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act navigators.


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