Iowa gets bonus for enrolling more children in health insurance coverage

One of 23 states to be honored; bonus totals nearly $11 million

Rod Boshart
Published: December 30 2013 | 12:10 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 1:26 am in
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DES MOINES – Iowa is in line for a nearly $10.62 million bonus for successfully enrolling more children in health insurance coverage this year.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded over $307 million in performance bonuses to 23 states, including Iowa, for improving access to children’s health coverage and successfully enrolling eligible children in Medicaid, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner announced Monday.

The performance bonuses were 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.

This is the fifth and final year of performance bonus awards. Iowa’s 2013 award was $10,615,376, marking the fourth straight year that the state qualified and bringing its overall total to more than $39.76 million, according to a CMS press release.

“We are pleased that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services again recognized Iowa for its efforts to simplify Medicaid/CHIP enrollment and in renewing coverage,” said Amy Lorentzen McCoy, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Human Services.

“The department’s work, which has resulted in nearly $40 million in bonuses in the past four years, helps improve health programs for Iowans most in need,” she added.

The bonuses help states by offsetting the costs of insuring the lowest-income children and encouraging them to adopt sustainable improvements in their children’s health coverage programs, according to a CMS news release.

States could qualify for a bonus by implementing procedures to simplify Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal processes to improve eligible children’s access to coverage. The amount of a state’s bonus corresponds to the increase in children’s Medicaid enrollment over a specified target, according to federal program overseers.

“States are working hard to ensure children get access to the health coverage they need,” Tavenner said in a statement. “We are pleased to provide financial support to reward states that are reducing enrollment barriers and are connecting kids to coverage.”

CMS officials cited recent Census data indicating that uninsured rates for children declined from 8.6 percent in 2009 to 7.5 percent in 2011.

The amount of a state’s bonus correlates with the increase in Medicaid enrollment, meaning the more children enrolled in a state, the higher the bonus. States that increase enrollment more than 10 percent above their baseline receive a larger Tier 2 bonus, which Iowa qualified in each of the last four years.

The 2013 bonus awards ranged from just over $1 million for North Dakota to more than $58 million for Colorado.

More information about the CHIPRA Performance Bonuses is available at

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