Medical Insurance Plan
December 29, 2011 by staff
Medical Insurance Plan, The Obama administration awarded Ohio a $21 million bonus for its efforts to enroll more poor children into federal health programs, the second consecutive year the state has been recognized for its work.
According to state officials, the number of Ohio children with health insurance through Medicaid increased this year from about 1.15 million to 1.2 million – about a 4.8 percent increase. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showered $296 million on Ohio and 22 other states yesterday, saying they have made it much easier for low-income parents to enroll their children in the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP.
Last year, the Obama administration awarded Ohio $12.4 million for its efforts, which Gov. John Kasich’s administration is using to implement Medicaid modernization and health-care reform programs.
A spokesman for Kasich’s Office of Health Transformation said the state has not used all the money from last year’s award and has not determined how to use the fresh $21 million bonus. Eric Poklar, communications director for the health transformation office, said there is no expiration date and few restrictions for the funds.
“This award underscores Gov. Kasich’s commitment to improving health care for Ohio’s children,” said John McCarthy, Ohio’s Medicaid director. “I am proud of this accomplishment because we increased the amount of children with insurance while also improving the overall performance of our children’s health-insurance programs, which means better service for our customers and better value for taxpayers.”
The first batch of money the state received was thanks to Kasich’s predecessor, Ted Strickland, who launched an aggressive campaign to simplify cumbersome rules to enroll more children who were eligible for CHIP. In 2010, the last year of Strickland’s administration, the state enrolled 77,000 children.
Federal officials pointed to two key changes in Ohio’s enrollment program. First, they noted that applicants do not need to appear for a face-to-face interview. And secondly, Ohio guarantees that all eligible children remain enrolled for a full year.
Gayle Channing Tenenbaum of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio hailed the award as “great news; we’ve done well on this,” referring to both Strickland and Kasich. She also cited McCarthy’s efforts, saying he “has been very committed to this, as has been the governor.”
As the nation’s economy has struggled to emerge from the recession of 2008 and 2009, more than 1.2 million children nationwide were enrolled in the insurance program in the past two years. When President Barack Obama took office in 2009, 8 million U.S. children lacked health coverage.
CHIP is a joint federal-state program created by the federal government in 1997 when both Kasich and Strickland were members of the U.S. House.
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