Authorized under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA), one of the first pieces of legislation signed into law by President Obama were  performance bonuses.  States qualify for a bonus by implementing procedures to simplify enrollment and renewal to ensure that all eligible children have easier access to coverage under Medicaid and CHIP.  They must also exceed targets for enrolling the lowest income children.

Performance bonuses were designed as an incentive for states to make changes that would expand coverage to children without insurance and simplify re-enrollment.  This is the fourth year performance bonuses have been available. The bonuses help states by offsetting the added costs of insuring the lowest income children and encouraging them to adopt sustainable improvements in their children’s health coverage programs. Such improvements include eliminating face-to-face interview requirements so that applications can be filed online or through the mail, using electronic data-matching to reduce paperwork, and making it easier to renew, thereby minimizing disruptions in coverage and necessary treatment.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has awarded performance bonuses to 23 states for improving access to children’s health coverage and successfully enrolling eligible children.  The 23 states awarded performance bonuses this year include: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.  


While the other states have received the bonuses in previous years, Utah is receiving a performance bonus for the first time.  This shows that we are making strides to improve a confusing system and ensuring that more low income children are getting the coverage they need.  Hopefully next year we will see more new states on the list so their efforts can be recognized.