HHS seeks further gains in childrens’ coverage

Major gains have been made in the push to get children enrolled in public healthcare programs, according to a new report released Thursday, just as the federal government rolled out $40 million in grants to further boost enrollment.

The Health and Human Services Department said the grants will help ensure that more children who are eligible for Medicaid or the Childrens Health Insurance Program are actually enrolled in those programs. Half of the money will fund initiatives to improve the technology thats used for enrollment and renewal.

The grants also will fund outreach programs through schools and efforts to ensure that eligible children and teens remain covered as long as theyre eligible.

Also on Thursday, the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said the past few years have seen progress in reducing the number of eligible children who arent enrolled. Almost 85 percent of eligible children were covered by Medicaid or CHIP in 2009, compared with roughly 82 percent the year before, according to the study.

The study shows that some 4.3 million children are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP but remain uninsured.