The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has unveiled the award of nearly $32 million in grants to boost the number of eligible children enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
The Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach and Enrollment Grants were awarded to 41 state agencies, community health centers, school-based organizations and non-profit groups in 22 states. Two of the grant recipients are multistate organizations.
The grants reflect the goals of the Affordable Care Act—to make health care universally accessible—and are part of the $140 million included in that legislation for enrollment and renewal outreach.
“Today’s grants will ensure that more children across the nation have access to the quality health care they need,” said Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a statement July 2. “We are drawing from successful children’s health coverage outreach and enrollment efforts to help promote enrollment this fall in Medicaid and the new Health Insurance Marketplace.”
Though eligibility requirements vary from state to state, in most jurisdictions, uninsured children 18 years old and younger whose family incomes are up to $45,000 per year (for a family of four) can qualify for either Medicaid or CHIP.
The programs cover a range of benefits including doctor visits, emergency care, prescriptions, vision, vaccinations, dental, hearing and more.
Officials say that efforts to streamline Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal practices, combined with robust outreach activities, have helped reduce the number of uninsured children. Since 2008, 1.7 million children have gained coverage and the rate of uninsured children has dropped to 6.6 percent in 2012.
This latest set of grants marked the third round of awards made in five focus areas: Engaging schools in outreach, enrollment and retention activities (nine awards); reducing health coverage disparities by reaching out to subgroups of children that are less likely to have health coverage (eight awards); streamlining enrollment for individuals participating in other public benefit programs such as nutritional or other assistance programs (three awards); improving application assistance resources to provide high quality, reliable Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal services in local communities (13 awards); and training communities to help families understand the new application and enrollment system and to deliver effective assistance to families with children eligible for Medicaid or CHIP (eight awards).
Grant amounts range from $190,000 to $1 million.
For a list of grantees, please visit: http://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-Sheets/2013-Fact-Sheets-Items/2013-07-02.html