Volume 2, Issue 2
SNAP Enrollment Project Launches in California

Food security is crucial to overall health, wellness, and economic stability and is essential for children and families to thrive. In 2016, the United States Department of Agriculture reported that 12.3% of Americans (over 41 million people) were food insecure, “meaning they lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members” (Source: USDA).

Kaiser Permanente (KP) remains devoted to the mission of improving the total health of our members and the communities we serve. In 2017, KP launched the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Enrollment Project to fight food insecurity among KP members and communities.

SNAP is a federally funded, state and/or county administered program. Formerly known as food stamps, SNAP provides monthly nutritional support for millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities.

KP’s SNAP Enrollment Project works to increase SNAP enrollment among eligible members, improving access to healthy food. The project identifies and tests scalable interventions to increase SNAP enrollment among KP members while seeking to overcome barriers members may experience (e.g., confusion over eligibility criteria, cumbersome application processes, and social stigma).

Initial efforts focus on Medi-Cal members in California, which is ranked 45th in SNAP (known locally as CalFresh) participation nationwide. Interventions address members’ barriers to SNAP enrollment with deployment at three levels:

  • State level: State-wide interventions such as broad outreach campaigns over KP communications channels such as KP.org to stimulate member awareness and enrollment via self-service, digital platforms such as GetCalFresh.org
  • Regional level: Region-wide efforts to increase awareness and connect members with assistance services via regional member touchpoints, e.g., Medicaid new member welcome calls
  • County level: County/Service Area interventions that leverage local member touchpoints and utilize more comprehensive assistance services, e.g., referrals by KP personnel to in-person or telephonic assistance provided by community-based organizations

KP is evaluating the overall success of the project by measuring enrollments, applications submitted, referrals, members reached, and member engagement.

At the local level, KP selected Sacramento and San Diego counties as initial pilot sites. Several key features make these counties ideal as local service prototypes. In Sacramento and San Diego, KP is directly contracted with the State to care for KP’s Medicaid members; and both counties have Geographically Managed Care (GMC) pilot initiatives in place to more effectively manage the health of KP’s Medicaid population. CalFresh has been willing to work with KP. And, GetCalFresh.org, the tool to facilitate CalFresh applications, is available and can be leveraged in both counties.

While the SNAP enrollment work has started among KP’s 700,000 Medicaid members in California, the overall goal is to help address food insecurity for KP’s 12 million members as well as the 60 million people that live within KP service areas nationwide.

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