States share $206M for enrolling children in Medicaid

Fifteen states were awarded $206 million in federal grants for expanding Medicaid enrollment of eligible children, the Medicare agency announced Monday afternoon.

The funding bonuses, included in the 2009 reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), require states to streamline their enrollment and renewal processes and significantly increase the number of children enrolled in Medicaid.

With $55 million, Alabama was the big winner, followed by Wisconsin ($23 million), Washington ($17.6 million), Oregon ($15 million) and Illinois ($15 million). In 2009, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded $75 million in CHIP bonuses to 10 states.

States are required to adopt five of eight measures to simplify the enrollment process, and they are reimbursed according to the number of children enrolled and the costs of enrolling the children. As states grapple with budget deficits, the states receiving the bonuses went "above and beyond the call of duty," said Medicaid Director Cindy Mann.
The remaining 2010 bonus winners were: Colorado ($13.7 million), Ohio ($12.4 million), Maryland ($10.5 million), Michigan ($9.3 million), New Jersey ($8.8 million), New Mexico ($8.6 million), Iowa ($6.7 million), Alaska ($4.4 million), Louisiana ($3.6 million) and Kansas ($2.6 million).

Eight states that shared $72 million in 2009 received bonuses again this year. Those states include Alaska, Alabama, Illinois, New Jersey, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.