One week after new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the number of children with insurance increased by 1.2 million since President Obama signed the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act in 2009, more than $296 million was awarded to states for ensuring more children have health coverage.

The CDC data, notes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, revealed that the increase in the number of children with insurance has been entirely due to greater enrollment in public programs such as Medicaid and CHIP.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Dec. 28 that the performance bonus payments are tied to states that surpass a specified Medicaid enrollment target. They also must adopt procedures that improve access to Medicaid and CHIP, making it easier for eligible children to enroll and retain coverage.

“More children now have the advantages health coverage provides,” says Sebelius. “And parents now have the security of knowing their children can get the health care they need without worrying that an illness could leave them with a lifetime of medical bills.”

Performance bonuses are designed to help offset the costs states incur when they enroll lower income children in Medicaid, notes the HHS. The goal is to get states to streamline their enrollment and renewal procedures, and the bonuses also give states the incentive to adopt long-term improvements in their children’s health insurance programs.

The 23 states eligible for performance bonuses include: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

— Pat Speer writes for Insurance Networking News, a SourceMedia publication.

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