Twenty-three states received over $307 million in bonuses for improving access to children’s health coverage and successfully enrolling low income, eligible children in Medicaid, according to CMS officials.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA) authorized the performance bonuses, which help states by offsetting the costs of insuring the lowest income children and encouraging them to adopt sustainable improvements in their children’s health coverage programs. Such improvements include eliminating face-to-face interview requirements so that applications can be filed online or through the mail, using electronic data matching to reduce paperwork, and making it easier to renew, thereby minimizing disruptions in coverage and necessary treatment.
To qualify for the bonuses, states must implement at least five out of eight specific program features and must increase children’s enrollment in Medicaid above a baseline level for the fiscal year. This is the fifth and final year of performance bonus awards.
According to CMS officials, uninsurance rates for children declined from 8.6 percent in 2009 to 7.5 percent in 2011, according to census data. In addition, an analysis by the Urban Institute found that participation rates in Medicaid and CHIP have continued to improve over time. In 2011, 87.2 percent of eligible children were enrolled, a 5.5 percentage point increase from 81.7 percent in 2008.
Many of the simplifications that states adopted to qualify for performance bonuses will be in place in all states in 2014 and applied consistently across Medicaid, CHIP, and the marketplace. The 23 states awarded performance bonuses include: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Source: Center for Studying Health System Change, December 30, 2013
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