The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded over $307 million in performance bonuses to 23 states for improving access to children’s health coverage and successfully enrolling eligible children in Medicaid, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner announced today.
The performance bonuses were authorized under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA), one of the first pieces of legislation signed into law by President Obama. This is the fifth and final year of performance bonus awards. States could qualify for a bonus by implementing procedures to simplify Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal processes to improve eligible children’s access to coverage. The amount of a state’s bonus corresponds to the increase in children’s Medicaid enrollment over a specified target.
“States are working hard to ensure children get access to the health coverage they need,” Administrator Tavenner said. “We are pleased to provide financial support to reward states that are reducing enrollment barriers and are connecting kids to coverage.”
Such efforts have been paying off. Recent Census data show that uninsurance rates for children declined from 8.6 percent in 2009 to 7.5 percent in 2011. 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.
The bonuses 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.
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. These simplifications have led to improved coverage for children and have helped lay the groundwork for outreach efforts aimed at enrolling people now eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
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.
For more information on today’s CHIPRA performance bonus awards, visithttp://www.insurekidsnow.gov/professionals/eligibility/performance_bonuses.html