HHS Awards States $206M in CHIP Bonuses

John Commins, December 28, 2010

The federal government on Monday awarded $206 million in bonuses to 15 states that streamlined processes and boosted enrollment for uninsured children in Medicaid.  This year's bonuses are more than double the $75 million awarded to 10 states last year, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

The funding was included in the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization legislation signed by President Obama in February 2009. To qualify for the CHIPRA bonuses states must have adopted at least five program features—like providing a guarantee of 12 months of continuous coverage, using a joint application for both Medicaid and CHIP and streamlining procedures for renewing a child's coverage—that encourage enrollment and retention of eligible children.

States must also be able to document significant increases in Medicaid enrollment among children during the year that are above and beyond what would have been expected, even with the economic recession. States with increases of more than 10% above this baseline qualify for a higher award amount.

"Today's announcement highlights the ongoing and committed efforts by states to improve access to health coverage programs and take the aggressive steps necessary to enroll eligible children," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday. "Their actions reflect President Obama's serious commitment to assuring that our country's children get the health care they need. These performance bonuses demonstrate our support for the effective strategies these states have undertaken."

The recipient states and their award amounts are: Alabama $54.9 million; Alaska $4.4 million; Colorado $13.6 million; Illinois $14.9 million; Iowa $6.7 million; Kansas $2.5 million; Louisiana $3.5 million; Maryland $10.5 million; Michigan $9.2 million; New Jersey $8.7 million; New Mexico $8.5 million; Ohio $12.3 million; Oregon $15 million; Washington $17.6 million; and Wisconsin $23 million. Awards vary by state according to a formula set out in CHIPRA.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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