U.S. states share a $296.5 million bonus for coverage of children without health insurance

Children Health InsuranceTwenty-three states will be receiving their part of a total $296.5 million bonus for their accomplishments in assisting low-income families to take part in public health programs that provide their children with coverage.

The payments are designed to give these states a reward for having streamlined their Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program eligibility. The goal is to increase the coverage of children who are 19 years old or younger and who live in households of four family members with an annual income of up to $45,000. That said, some states have easier eligibility.

A Georgetown University Health Policy Institute study showed that although the economy may have been struggling, in 2010, the number of children who were not insured decreased from 2008’s 6.9 million to 5.9 million. According to Tricia Brooks, a Georgetown Institute senior fellow, kids are still losing their coverage when their eligibility is not renewed by their parents, which raises the odds of missing dental checkups and vaccinations.

She explained that families often delay routine preventive care in the hopes that they will soon have a little more money so that they will know that they will be able to afford bringing the child in for the checkup, or until they know that it is necessary for the child to receive care. She said that “At that point, the emergency room is a likely choice.”

The state that achieved the highest results and therefore the top bonus, was Maryland, which was given $28.3 million. Virginia came in second, having received $26.7 million, and $26.1 million went to Colorado.

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