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HHS Grants Look to Increase, Retain Children in Medicaid, CHIP

Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, September 30, 2009

Finding uninsured children eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is not always easy given the mobile nature that is often associated with the poorest families.

Hoping to find and enroll children who are eligible for the government programs, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebeilus announced today $40 million in grants to 69 grantees in 41 states and the District of Columbia.

"With millions of Americans either out of work or otherwise struggling to make ends meet during this recession, there is an even greater urgency to bring steady, reliable healthcare to children in these families who may have lost their coverage," said Sebelius.

The Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA) set aside $100 million for fiscal years 2009-2013 to help find and enroll eligible children. That amount includes $80 million for states and organizations, $10 million to tribal organizations, and $10 million for a national outreach effort.

The awards given out on Wednesday are for a two-year period that ends on Dec. 31, 2001 and will be followed by a second round of $40 million in new grants.

The 69 grantees were awarded for their "outreach, enrollment, and retention efforts" and "will target geographic areas with high rates of eligible but uninsured children, particularly those with racial and ethnic minority groups who are uninsured at higher-than-average rates." For example, 20% of the CHIPRA funds announced today will target Hispanic children, 11% will go toward homeless children, and 7% is slated for Native American children.

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