The 2010 Census – It’s easy. It’s important. It’s safe.
Apr 1st, 2010 | by OurHealthCareSource.com
Category : Serving Diverse Population
It’s that time of year again. Census time. Yes, this year we have to take 10 minutes out of our busy schedules and answer 10 easy questions… and we’re done – for 10 years! Simple questions that determine how $400 Billion – yes, that’s BILLION -get distributed to each state.
During the 2000 Census collection, over 70% of Americans sent their surveys back as instructed. But many surveys had to be completed with the help of U.S. Census workers who traveled door to door canvassing the streets to find individuals who just couldn’t find the time to make this a priority. And why shouldn’t they just wait for a knock on the door?
Get this: For each percentage point we can raise the response rate, the feds reportedly will save about $85 million on door-to-door workers. Isn’t that reason enough?
But the population that traditionally struggles to complete their Census forms is the people we serve each day here at CareSource. Why? Because this population tends to be transient – not typically staying at one residence for any prolonged period of time. They also may not have an official address, or they may be homeless, or they live in a communal living situation. Whatever the case, during this census period, it’s extremely important that we get the people in our underserved communities counted.
That’s why CareSource is joining the national effort to reach out to our members to reinforce the importance of completing their census form. Our 820,000+ members qualify for Medicaid coverage and have income below 200 percent of the poverty level. Because the deadline is quickly approaching, we are posting information to our Web site as a reminder for both members and our vast provider network (22,000+ providers, 210 hospitals). We’re also adding a hold message on our customer service line (pending state approval) to encourage our members to “Be Counted” and why it’s so important.
But we didn’t stop there. As a large employer, we have also encouraged our 900 employees to complete their census forms and have reiterated why it’s so important for a publicly funded, not-for-profit company like CareSource to support this national endeavor. Recurring messages will be sent to employees to provide constant reminders prior to the April 15th deadline.
According the NAACP and the federal government, here is why it is so important to get everyone counted – especially families struggling with poverty:
- Federal Funds: For each 100 people not counted, a community risks losing an estimated $1.2 million over the next decade for federally funded programs including: Medicaid, public housing assistance, child health programs, Head Start, transit programs, and more.
- Political Representation: States use census numbers to redraw all political boundaries and determine which states gain or lose representation, including Congressional Districts, state house and senate districts for city councils, school committees and county board.
- Public Infrastructure: All levels of government rely on census numbers to locate vital public works like schools, health centers, public transportation, highways, and affordable housing.
- Private Investment: Businesses large and small use census numbers to identify new markets, select sites for operations, make investment decisions and determine the goods and services offered.
When families do not participate in the census, it means their communities lose access to money, resources and power. On behalf of our country’s underserved communities, please encourage the families and organizations you interact with to complete and return their census form. It’s easier than ever. The 2010 Census form asks 10 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete. But the key is – IT MUST BE MAILED BACK TO BE COUNTED. Simply mail it back using the postage-paid return envelope by April 15, 2010. Telephone assistance in filling out the form is also available by simply calling 1-866-872-6868.
For those who do not respond, census workers will visit households that do not return forms to take the count in person. But don’t forget – the higher the participation rate, the cheaper the census will cost taxpayers. Just think – if we increase the rate of response from 70 to 80 percent, that’s an estimated $850 million in savings!
It’s easy. It’s important. It’s safe. For more information about the 2010 Census and the “Take 10″ initiative, visit www.2010census.gov.