Alabama gets Medicaid funding bonus for helping kids

Alabama’s Medicaid Agency will receive a $55 million federal performance bonus for its efforts to enroll more low-income children into Medicaid. The award is based on the state’s performance for the 2010 fiscal year and marks the second consecutive year that Alabama has earned the largest federal performance bonus. 14 other states received smaller performance awards.

Alabama Medicaid works with the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama Department of Human Resources to ensure that children in the state are provided with a basic level of health insurance. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services manages the award program which has uses eight performance indicators to benchmark how effective states are at insuring children. Alabama has implemented at least five of the eight performance indicators and 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.

Alabama provides 12 months of continuous Medicaid enrollment, and has removed the requirement for an in-person interview in order to qualify for coverage. The state has also streamlined the eligibility renewal process and removed asset limits for pregnant women and children.

Other states receiving bonuses included Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.

“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,” Governor Riley said.