Colorado to get $43M bonus for child health insurance

Colorado will soon receive the largest bonus — $42.9 million — among 23 states to be rewarded for increasing access to public health insurance for low-income children.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Wednesday they will award performance bonuses for the fourth consecutive year to states that implemented at least five out of eight processes designed to streamline Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus enrollment for eligible children.

Colorado has implemented seven of the process changes, including eliminating requirements to apply for insurance in person, reducing verification of asset requirements, making the applications for Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus uniform, offering premium assistance and offering presumptive eligibility so kids can access coverage before the full application process is complete.

The two suggested processes Colorado added this year are Express Lane Eligibility, which speeds up the application process by cross-referencing eligibility data from other assistance programs, and administrative renewal, which uses electronic verification to hasten approval.

The one recommended process change Colorado has yet to adopt is allowing children to stay enrolled in Medicaid for at least one year regardless of what happens with their family’s eligibility.

States get a higher bonus for increasing Medicaid enrollment for children by at least 10 percent over a target goal. Colorado is one of 16 states that accomplished that feat in 2012.

The award amount Colorado is set to receive was calculated based on numerous factors, including meeting or exceeding the enrollment target and the cost per resident of insurance coverage, according a spokesperson from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Colorado received $18.2 million in 2010 and $32.9 million in 2011 in performance bonuses and will get 14 percent of the $306 million in bonuses being handed out to states this year.

Bonuses are used to offset the cost of enrolling more of a state’s lowest-income children and to help states continue to improve health coverage programs, according to a news release issued Wednesday.


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