MONTGOMERY – Alabama's Medicaid Agency will receive a $55 million federal performance bonus for the continued effectiveness of its methods to enroll more low-income children in the Medicaid health insurance program during the 2010 Fiscal Year, Governor Bob Riley announced Monday.
For the second straight year, Alabama has earned the largest performance bonus. This year's $55 million bonus makes up more than one quarter of the total amount awarded to all of the 15 states receiving bonuses.
"Alabama Medicaid and their partners at the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama Department of Human Resources have worked together in-step to prevent children from falling through the cracks when it comes to providing basic health insurance," Governor Riley said. "The fact that Alabama is one of only 15 states receiving a performance bonus, and we are receiving the largest bonus, demonstrates the effectiveness of our program.
"Receiving this bonus obviously means a lot for our state budget-wise. More importantly, it means ensuring a struggling family out there never has to choose between putting food on the table and filling a child's prescription."
Other states receiving bonuses included Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.
The bonus, awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is one of 15 awarded nationally to recognize states which had implemented at least five of eight program features known to promote enrollment and retention in children's health insurance coverage and had increased state Medicaid enrollment above a target set by federal law. The bonus payments were part of the 2009 Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization (CHIPRA) legislation signed into law in February 2009.
"Our staff has worked tirelessly to boost enrollment among eligible, uninsured children, particularly those who were qualified for Medicaid," said Alabama Medicaid Commissioner Robert D. Church, Jr. "Thanks to the many efforts of our eligibility staff and a strong partnership between ALL Kids and the Alabama Department of Human Resources, more Alabama children will benefit from Medicaid-covered health care services."
Methods implemented in Alabama include providing 12 months of continuous enrollment, removing the requirement for an in-person interview in order to qualify for coverage, streamlining the eligibility renewal process, removal of asset limits for pregnant women and children, and use of a joint application between Medicaid and ALL Kids.