State Misses Enrollment Mark in Kids’ Insurance To Obtain Federal Funds
California has failed to qualify for a share of at least $206 million in federal funds that reward states for efforts to increase enrollment of eligible children in government health plans, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The state met minimum requirements for the incentive payments by making it easier for families to obtain and secure coverage. However, California could not meet the enrollment goal for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, and Healthy Families, the state's Children's Health Insurance Program. The state fell short of the goal to enroll 352,000 additional children by about 24,000.
CMS recently announced that 15 other states did qualify for the performance incentives (Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 12/28/10).
Details on Federal Incentives
The incentive payments were established under the reauthorization of CHIP in 2009. The purpose of the grants is to boost enrollment nationwide ofÂ an estimatedÂ 4.7 million children who would be eligible for subsidized health coverage if their families were aware of their options. About two-thirds of uninsured children nationwide could meet income requirements for government insurance plans.
To qualify for the grants, states needed to meet five of eight measures to help streamline enrollment for children in government insurance programs. Participating states also needed to report increases in Medicaid caseload that were not solely the product of a declining economy.
California, Florida and Texas account for almost 40% of all uninsured children, but none of them will receive the payments (Sack, New York Times, 12/27/10).
California's Uninsured Children
In California, about 1.5 million children lack health insurance, according to UCLAÂ researchers.
About 700,000 uninsured children in the state qualify for state and federal insurance programs but are not enrolled, according to the Urban Institute. Children's advocates say efforts to increase enrollment have been stalled by budget cuts.
Suzanne Shupe, executive director of California Children Health Initiatives, said, "Given how close we were, it is truly tragic that the state ... lost out on federal funds" (Sacramento Bee, 12/28/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.