It is of utmost importance in the US, to identify and enroll children eligible for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), says the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
It has, therefore, announced $40 million in grants for these efforts.
Grants were awarded to 39 state agencies, community health centers, school-based organizations and non-profit groups in 23 states. The 2-year grants are authorized under the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009.
"Today's grants will help us identify and enroll children in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, ensuring that more children have the health care they need," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
"Keeping Americans healthy from a young age is the right thing to do, and it saves money by avoiding preventable diseases and conditions as they get older. The activities we are funding will help eligible children get covered, stay healthy and prepare them to succeed in school."
The grants will build on the Secretary's 'Connecting Kids to Coverage Challenge' to find and enroll all eligible children and support outreach strategies that have been shown to be successful. Grants were made in five focus areas:
1. Using technology to facilitate enrollment and renewal (approximately $20 million to ten grantees)
2. Retaining eligible children in coverage (approximately $3 million to four grantees)
3. Engaging schools in outreach, enrollment and renewal activities (approximately $5 million to seven grantees)
4. Reaching children who are most likely to experience gaps in coverage (approximately $10 million to fourteen grantees)
5. Ensuring eligible teens are enrolled and stay covered (approximately $3 million to four grantees).
Grant amounts range from $200,000 to $2.5 million with the largest grants going to the technology focus area.
A new study just released by the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that, despite an increase in eligible children between 2008 and 2009, the total number of eligible but uninsured children declined from 4.7 million in 2008 to 4.3 million in 2009, in part due to outreach and enrollment efforts.