Health Care Authority receives $12 million bonus for outreach

Washington State has been awarded just over $12 million by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in a bonus that recognizes the state's efforts to identify and enroll eligible children in Medicaid coverage.

It is the fourth consecutive year for the state to receive the enrollment-based bonus. Only 5 percent of Washington State’s children are currently uninsured. That compares to a national rate of more than 10 percent,

“Apple Health for Kids has always been a high priority,” said Governor Chris Gregoire. “Kids need access to health care throughout childhood to ensure they’re able to grow up healthy and chase their dreams. Washington is once again recognized as a national leader, and we’re proud to lead the way.”

Among Gregoire’s first decisions in office in 2005 was to veto an attempt to set premiums for Medicaid children and to allow 12-month continuous eligibility, thereby eliminating a paperwork hurdle.

"Washington State is one of a handful of states to have received this bonus all four years of the program, underscoring our state’s commitment to insuring children and seeing that they receive the health care they need,” said MaryAnne Lindeblad, Director of the Health Care Authority.

The Health Care Authority applied for the CMS performance bonus, which is awarded based on meeting the following criteria:

  • States must have in place at least five Medicaid program features known to promote enrollment and retention in health coverage for children.
  • States must demonstrate a significant increase in Medicaid enrollment among children during the course of the fiscal year.

Washington met the following five of the eight required program features necessary to qualify for an FY11 bonus award: 12-month continuous eligibility, liberalization of the state’s asset test, elimination of in-person interview requirements, use of the same application and renewal forms, and premium assistance subsidies.

Last year, the bonus totaled $19.0 million. It was $20.6 million for 2010 and $7.8 million for FY2009 – a total of more than $59 million over the four years. Size of the bonuses is based on caseload growth.

This year, 23 states received a combined $306 million for meeting enrollment and renewal targets for children who are Medicaid- and CHIP-eligible. The awards ranged from about $1.5 million for Idaho to $43 million for Colorado.


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