HHS Awards Bonuses to States for Enrollment of Children in Health Coverage

by Rebecca Farley on January 12, 2012

The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded more than $296 million to states for ensuring more children have health coverage. The performance bonus payments are funded under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2009.  To qualify for these bonus payments, states must surpass a specified Medicaid enrollment target. They also must adopt procedures that improve access to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), making it easier for eligible children to enroll and retain coverage.

The bonuses came one week after new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the number of children with insurance increased by 1.2 million since the 2009 CHIP reauthorization. An HHS issue brief notes that this increase has been entirely due to greater enrollment in public programs such as Medicaid and CHIP. (http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2011/CHIPRA/ib.shtml)

Performance bonuses help offset the costs states incur when they enroll lower income children in Medicaid.  By ensuring that states streamline their enrollment and renewal procedures, the bonuses also give states the incentive to adopt long-term improvements in their children’s health insurance programs. The 23 states eligible for performance bonuses include:  Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Additional information is available online. http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/professionals/eligibility/performance_bonuses.html


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