Seven more states qualify for CHIP incentives
HHS announced that seven new states are among those receiving performance incentives this year under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act. Connecticut, Georgia, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina and Virginia didn’t appear on the list of incentive winners last year, HHS officials said when they announced the $296.5 million in bonuses for fiscal 2011. The money rewards states that hit enrollment target numbers for CHIP and that make it easier to enroll children in the insurance program. The Obama administration established the incentive program in 2009. “Part of the reason for the bonus is that it helps defray the costs the state has already incurred by adding more kids to the program,” Cindy Mann, CMS deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, said during a conference call with reporters. The incentives also reward states for increasing the program’s accessibility by reducing red tape and quickly establishing a child’s eligibility for the program. The use of electronic medical records is one way to improve access, the CMS noted. Tapping into data from other organizations that already have the information needed to determine eligibility for CHIP is another. “Simplification works,” Mann said.