The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced $40 million in grants for efforts to identify and enroll children eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The grants, ranging from $200,000 to $2.5 million, were awarded to 39 state agencies, community health centers, school-based organizations and non-profit groups in 23 states. The two-year grants are authorized under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009. The grants were based on five outcomes:
1) Using technology to facilitate enrollment and renewal (approximately $20 million to ten grantees)
2) Retaining eligible children in coverage (approximately $3 million to four grantees)
3) Engaging schools in outreach, enrollment and renewal activities (approximately $5 million to seven grantees)
4) Reaching children who are most likely to experience gaps in coverage (approximately $10 million to fourteen grantees)
5) Ensuring eligible teens are enrolled and stay covered (approximately $3 million to four grantees).
The grant announcement follows last week’s release of a joint letter from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to the nation’s governors urging them to encourage schools to “undertake children’s health coverage outreach and enrollment activities when classes begin this fall.” This collaboration is part of a broader challenge that Sebelius issued on the one year anniversary of CHIPRA called: Connecting Kids to Coverage, a five-year campaign challenging federal officials, states, governors, mayors, community organizations, faith leaders, and concerned individuals to build on our success and take the next step by finding and enrolling eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP. To date, outreach and enrollment efforts, coupled with efforts to streamline Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal practices, have helped reduce the numbers of uninsured children.