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October 2009 St@teside

Significant Funding Awarded to Reach Uninsured Kids Eligible for State Public Programs

On September 30, HHS Secretary Sebelius announced that $40 million will go to 69 grantees in 41 states and the District of Columbia to help locate and enroll children who are uninsured but eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Sebelius noted the urgency of this funding given the millions of American families who may have lost access to health coverage due to becoming unemployed.

As part of the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA), a total of $80 million will go to states for the outreach involved in finding and enrolling eligible children. Half of the award, the $40 million announced on September 30, is for a two-year period ending December 31, 2011, with the other half to be awarded as new grants in a second round. The HHS press release has a list of grantees by state.

Those familiar with state health policy and public health understand the value of health initiatives and interventions that harness the power of community partnerships within the states. Most of the grantees, primarily community-based organizations, will focus their efforts on multiple, community-based approaches. The grants require that recipients be able to demonstrate increases in enrollment and retention of children already enrolled, and to also report activities that were deemed most effective in outreach and maintenance. These lessons learned will be of value to the states in helping them better understand their under-18 population and the ways that they can enroll and keep children covered in public programs moving forward.