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Ohio receives Medicaid bonus for covering children

by Kelly MacNeil on December 28, 2010

As a reward for providing healthcare coverage to previously uninsured children, the federal government announced on Monday that Ohio will receive a $12.4 million Medicaid bonus. The Buckeye State is among the 15 that are expected to receive a total of $206 million in bonuses. Alabama is earning the most with almost $55 million, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

The additional funding was announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and the money is provided by federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The initiative is part of the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009, which works to provide coverage for uninsured children.

In order to qualify for the bonus, states had to meet at least five of eight criteria that are intended to make it easier to gain coverage. Ohio covered more than 95,000 previously uninsured children this year, thanks to some innovative ideas that made it easier for individuals to enroll and reduced the amount of paperwork required.

"Ohio has cut red tape to make scarce Medicaid dollars more efficient in covering uninsured kids instead of processing duplicative paperwork," Amy N. Swanson, executive director at Voices for Ohio's Children, told the news source.

The program that allowed Ohio to qualify for the bonus the first time was targeted at children and pregnant woman who had incomes that were too high to qualify for state assistance, but too low to purchase private coverage.

The initiative is called Healthy Start and is open to children under the age of 19 whose families earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Also eligible are the parents of minors who earn less than 90 percent of that level. There are around 2.1 million Ohio residents currently enrolled in Medicaid, according to the Dayton Daily News.

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