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CMS Announces $32 Million to Help Get Eligible Children Enrolled in Health Coverage

Kid Mom PharmacistWashington, DC, November 17, 2015 ― The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services yesterday announced $32 million in available funds to support efforts to reach out to families with children eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and help get them covered.

The funds will support activities aimed at alerting families to the availability of free or low-cost health coverage under Medicaid and CHIP, identifying children likely to be eligible, and assisting families with the application and renewal process. Medicaid and CHIP provide comprehensive coverage to the nation’s most vulnerable children.

“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.” said Vikki Wachino, deputy administrator of CMS, and director, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services.

“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,” Wachino added.

Outreach efforts, as well as measures to simplify eligibility and enrollment, have helped spur Medicaid and CHIP enrollment, the driving force behind the reduction in the rate of uninsured children to 6 percent in 2014, an all-time low, according to a recent Georgetown University study.

The Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach and Enrollment Grant funds are provided under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, continuing the program first funded in 2009 under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) and extended under the Affordable Care Act.

To date, a total of approximately $126 million in grant funding has been awarded to help reduce the number of children who are eligible for Medicaid and CHIP but are not enrolled. Today’s funding opportunity is the fourth cycle of this initiative and funding will be awarded as cooperative agreements to allow close collaboration between CMS and awardees.

A total of $32 million in federal funding over two years will be available.  CMS expects to award approximately 30 Cycle IV cooperative agreements ranging in size from $250,000 to $1 million over a two-year period.

State and local governments, Indian tribes and tribal organizations, certain health care provider organizations, nonprofit organizations including community and faith-based groups, and schools and school districts are eligible to apply.

Applicants are asked to target populations likely to be eligible for Medicaid and CHIP, but generally less likely to be enrolled; examples of target populations include teens, Latino children and children in rural areas.

CMS invites all eligible entities to apply. Proposals are due January 20, 2016. For more information, including application requirements, visit www.grants.gov.

Information on past Connecting Kids to Coverage grant awards can be found at: http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/professionals/funding/history.html.