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Ohio among 23 states awarded CHIPRA Performance Bonuses

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Monday that it has awarded over $307 million in performance bonuses to 23 states for improving access to children’s health coverage and successfully enrolling eligible children in Medicaid.

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Ohio, the biggest battleground state of the 2012 election, which President Barack Obama won for a second consecutive time, will have $10,829,869 added to its coffers, according to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

The performance bonuses were authorized under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA), one of the first pieces of legislation signed into law by President Obama. This cycle represents the fifth and final year of performance bonus awards, which states could qualify for by implementing procedures to simplify Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal processes to improve eligible children’s access to coverage. The amount of a state’s bonus corresponds to the increase in children’s Medicaid enrollment over a specified target, CMS noted.

"States are working hard to ensure children get access to the health coverage they need," Administrator Tavenner said in prepared remarks today. She added, "We are pleased to provide financial support to reward states that are reducing enrollment barriers and are connecting kids to coverage."

Recent Census data show that uninsurance rates for children declined from 8.6 percent in 2009 to 7.5 percent in 2011. In addition, an analysis by the Urban Institute found that participation rates in Medicaid and CHIP have continued to improve over time. In 2011, 87.2 percent of eligible children were enrolled, a 5.5 percentage point increase from 81.7 percent in 2008. In short, efforts have paid off.

CMS said the bonuses help states by offsetting the costs of insuring the lowest income children and encouraging them to adopt sustainable improvements in their children’s health coverage programs. The improvements include eliminating face-to-face interview requirements so that applications can be filed online or through the mail, using electronic data-matching to reduce paperwork, and making it easier to renew, thereby minimizing disruptions in coverage and necessary treatment.

Many of the simplifications that states adopted to qualify for performance bonuses will be in place in all states in 2014 and applied consistently across Medicaid, CHIP, and the Marketplace, information provided by CMS said. "These simplifications have led to improved coverage for children and have helped lay the groundwork for outreach efforts aimed at enrolling people now eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act," CMS told reporters.

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

CMS notes that the enrollment target is based on FY 2007 Medicaid child enrollment and adjusted based on a formula that accounts for population growth and for increases in enrollment during an economic recession. States that exceed their enrollment target have increased enrollment above what would have been expected without expanded outreach efforts.

States that exceed their enrollment target by more than 10 percent qualify for a "Tier 2" performance bonus payment, in which additional enrollment is rewarded at a higher rate.

In a note to the award details, CMS said the enrollment data and the related bonus amounts are considered preliminary and subject to reconciliation after States’ Medicaid enrollment numbers are finalized in early 2014.

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The post Ohio among 23 states awarded CHIPRA Performance Bonuses appeared first on Columbus Government Examiner.

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