CMS Funds Efforts to Reduce Uninsured Rate of Children

CMS has made available $32 million in funds to support efforts to further reduce the rate of uninsured children who are eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Newly available funds from CMS will support efforts to reach out to families with children eligible for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to help get them covered. The $32 million will help alert families of the availability of low-cost or free health coverage, identify children who may be eligible, and assist with the application and renewal process.

Through the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, a continuation of the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, approximately $126 million in grant funding has been awarded to help get children who are eligible for Medicaid and CHIP enrolled in the programs. The rate of uninsured children reached 6% in 2014, an all-time low, CMS reported.

“Health coverage gives children access to the care they need to stay healthy and gives families the security of knowing their kids and household budgets are protected.” Vikki Wachino, deputy administrator of CMS, and director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, said in a statement. “By connecting eligible children to Medicaid and CHIP, these grants will help to ensure that children can more fully participate in childhood activities and are more prepared to succeed in school.”

The funding of $32 million will be available over 2 years, and CMS expects to award approximately 30 agreements. Applicants should be targeting populations likely to be eligible for Medicaid and CHIP, but less likely to be enrolled, such as teens, Latino children, and children in rural areas.