HHS Urges Children's Medicaid, CHIP Coverage

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media , September 8, 2010

As part of the CHIP Reauthorization Act passed last year and the Affordable Care Act, "we are investing $120 million in innovative state and local outreach efforts," Sebelius added. "We don't have to write any new laws to do this, and we don't have to pass any bills through Congress. We just need to find the young people and get them enrolled."

The study confirms that the states "have been doing a good job" enrolling children," Sebelius said. But the current participation rates have been found to vary greatly across states—from lows of 55.4% in Nevada and 66.2% in Utah to highs of 95.4% and 95.2% respectively in the District of Columbia and Massachusetts, Also, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, and the District of Columbia had participation rates of 91% or higher.

While Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, and West Virginia had rates of 88% to 90%, a total of 13 states had participation rates that fell below 80%: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Florida, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

The data "will help us to focus our efforts and our grant funding where they are most needed," Sebelius said. "We now have a much better sense of where most uninsured children live, and which communities may need more help."

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