WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today praised Maryland’s dedication and innovation in improving access to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that led to winning a $43.4 million “performance bonus” from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in fiscal year 2013 to cover the costs of providing more Maryland kids with health coverage.
“Keeping all of our kids healthy is a priority. Congratulations to all those who have made Maryland’s program a success, making it possible for even more low-income children across our state to access important primary health care services, including dental care,” said Senator Cardin.
“Hats off to Governor O’Malley and his team for saving lives and saving money by getting more kids covered and keeping more kids healthy,” Senator Mikulski said. “Maryland is a leader and innovator in getting kids off to the right start in life. It begins with making access to health care a top priority. I fought to create the CHIP program in 1997. I have been fighting ever since to expand coverage and increase payment to states. States want to do the right thing, but they can’t do it on their own. That’s why I will keep standing up for a federal government that fulfills its responsibilities to America’s families, America’s children and America’s future.”
Performance bonuses provide additional federal funding for qualifying states that have taken specific steps to simplify Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal processes, and have also increased enrollment of children.
Maryland received this performance bonus because the State adopted a number of innovative policy changes to increase the enrollment of children in Medicaid and CHIP, such as using data from state income tax filings to identify eligible but unenrolled children for outreach. The number of Maryland children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP coverage increased from more than 407,000 in January 2007 to more than 586,000 in October 2013.
CHIP is a joint federal and state program that provides health insurance to children in low-income, working families. Under CHIP, children whose families cannot afford health insurance have access to doctor visits and medicines they need when they are sick and the checkups they need to stay well. CHIP protects the health care coverage of nearly 6.7 million children, including more than 150,000 in Maryland.