Twenty-three states that have implemented at least five of eight programs to streamline children's health insurance coverage and meet enrollment targets will receive more than $296 million in federal performance bonuses, U.S. Health and Human Services officials announced Wednesday.
According to federal statistics, these and other efforts have increased the number of covered children by 1.2 million since the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act was signed in 2009. However, administration officials urged states to continue their progress to enroll another remaining 4.3 million or more who remain eligible but unenrolled.
"Access to health insurance is one of the keys to starting children on a path to a healthy life," said Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services during a news conference.
However, she added, "There are millions of kids today who are just a few easy steps from getting the coverage they need to get their checkups and their medicines."
"No parent in America should have to think twice about taking their child to a doctor's appointment or filling a prescription for their child because the cost is too high," Tavenner said. "And no child should have to miss school or activities because they're not getting the care they need to stay healthy."
States can do what they want with the funds, but the intent is that they will be used to help defray the shared Medicaid costs that the states incur by enrolling more children.
This is the third in five rounds of annual performance payments under CHIPRA.