State Gets $28.3 Million Bonus for Children's Medicaid Enrollment - Southern Maryland Headline News

State Gets $28.3 Million Bonus for Children's Medicaid Enrollment

By Staff

(December 29, 2011)—Maryland will receive a $28 million performance bonus from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for fiscal year 2011 for its consistent efforts to identify and enroll eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP coverage.

“Since 2007, we have expanded coverage to more than 300,000 Marylanders, almost half of them children, and this bonus is a great recognition of those efforts,” Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said in a written statement.

The bonus is granted under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009. It goes to states that satisfy two sets of criteria: at least five Medicaid and CHIP features to promote enrollment and retention in health coverage for children, and a significant increase in children enrolled in Medicaid in the last year.

The bonus came as good news to a department that has had a series of negative audits in the past year identifying lack of control over Medicaid payments, benefits paid on behalf of dead people and $8 million in federal dollars that went unspent on those with developmental disabilities.

The federal centers specifically recognized Maryland’s efforts to base health insurance eligibility on a family’s income alone — not also on the family’s possessions, eliminate requiring applicants to apply in-person; streamline the initial application form to be as simple as the renewal form; and use proof of eligibility for other programs for low-income residents to qualify for Medicaid.

“We will learn the lessons of this success for future efforts to help people enroll in health insurance in Maryland,” said Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Joshua Sharfstein. “We have a great foundation for further progress with the Health Benefit Exchange.”

“Ensuring that all eligible children are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP has been our number one priority, and this bonus not only highlights those efforts, but also will help us continue those efforts in the new year,” said Charles J. Milligan, Deputy Secretary for Health Care Financing.

Since January 2007, the number of children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP has increased from 407,300 children to 545,200. Nearly 41,000 children were enrolled in FY 2011 alone.

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