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Virginia to get $26.7 million in federal bonus payments

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Virginia will get $26.7 million in bonus payments for children’s health coverage after meeting federal medical program goals.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Virginia is one of 23 states sharing in more than $296 million in performance bonuses this year.

The performance bonuses are intended to help offset states’ costs in enrolling children in Medicaid.  The bonuses also serve as incentives to streamline enrollment and renewal procedures.

The payments are funded under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009. 

To qualify for bonus payments, states must meet Medicaid enrollment targets and adopt procedures that improve access to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 

In announcing the payments, the Obama administration cited figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that the number of children covered by health insurance increased by 1.2 million since reauthorization of the CHIP program in 2009.

This marks the first time the commonwealth has received a performance bonus. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Virginia has streamlined the enrollment process for children’s health coverage. The same forms, for example, now are used to apply for Medicaid or CHIP, and applicants are not required to appear for face-to-face interviews.

Virginia also uses existing electronic databases to verify family information, reducing the need for families to submit paperwork when in renewing children’s health coverage. 

The other 22 states eligible for performance bonuses include: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington and Wisconsin.

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