Thursday, January 5, 2012

It pays to cover kids

In case you missed the announcement amidst the hustle and bustle of the holidays, our state is the recipient of a $17 million bonus payment from the federal government for our “…efforts to identify and enroll eligible children in Medicaid coverage.”  In other words, we’re being rewarded for doing a great job of providing health care coverage to children in our state.
This isn’t the first time we’ve received a bonus for our Apple Health for Kids enrollment numbers. Last year we received over $20 million, and the year before nearly $8 million.
Making sure all children have health care coverage has long been a priority for House Democrats.  When the legislature had to cut billions from the budget in 2010, it resisted booting kids off Apple Health as a way to save money. 
And last year, legislators passed a bill that made changes to state insurance laws so children could receive coverage on individual plans without being subjected to pre-existing conditions limitations.  This prevents kids from falling through the cracks and being left without any coverage.
While we still haven’t changed eligibility requirements, the current budget situation has forced some recent changes to Apple Health.  Mainly, families with undocumented children who earn between 201 and 300 percent of the federal poverty level now face increased costs in order to receive coverage.
You can read more about our bonus award from this article in The Olympian.

To read this story in Spanish, click here.