State earns bonus for CHIP signup

Published 9:52 pm Monday, December 27, 2010

Alabama earned the largest federal performance bonus for the second year in a row for signing up children for a low-income health insurance program.

Alabama’s Medicaid Agency will receive a $55 million federal performance bonus for the continued effectiveness of its methods to enroll more low-income children in the Medicaid health insurance program during the 2010 Fiscal Year, Gov. Bob Riley announced Monday.

This year’s $55 million bonus to Alabama makes up more than one quarter of the total amount awarded to all of the 15 states receiving bonuses.

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“Alabama Medicaid and their partners at the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama Department of Human Resources have worked together in-step to prevent children from falling through the cracks when it comes to providing basic health insurance,” Riley said. “The fact that Alabama is one of only 15 states receiving a performance bonus, and we are receiving the largest bonus, demonstrates the effectiveness of our program.

“Receiving this bonus obviously means a lot for our state budget-wise. More importantly, it means ensuring a struggling family out there never has to choose between putting food on the table and filling a child’s prescription.”

Other states receiving bonuses included Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.

The bonus, awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is one of 15 awarded nationally to recognize states which had implemented at least five of eight program features known to promote enrollment and retention in children’s health insurance coverage and had increased state Medicaid enrollment above a target set by federal law. The bonus payments were part of the 2009 Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization (CHIPRA) legislation signed into law in February 2009.