Kathleen Sebelius, the Department of Health and Human Services secretary, announced the availability of up to $40 million in grants to help reach families whose children qualify but are not yet enrolled in state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP). Sebelius was joined for the announcement by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. Colorado has been a leader in the effort to provide health insurance coverage to more children.
The grants will help support President Barack Obama’s work to ensure millions of currently uninsured children across the country get the health care they need. The funds are part of the new Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) that Obama signed as one of his first acts upon assuming office.
“We know there are millions of children who are eligible for coverage but don’t utilize their state health care programs,” Sebelius said in a news release. “These grants will help community organizations, tribal organizations, as well as states and local governments reach out to children and families to ensure more children get the health care they need and deserve.”
“We’ve made covering kids a top priority in Colorado. Working in partnership with community-based organizations like schools, child care centers and faith-based groups, we have dramatically increased outreach and enrollment efforts and those efforts are paying off,” Ritter said. “Since 2007, we’ve enrolled 67,000 more children in Medicaid and Colorado’s children’s health program — a 27% increase. This grant opportunity will be a great help to states and communities that are working hard to ensure kids and families are getting the health care they need.”
This solicitation is the first cycle of outreach funding under CHIPRA. The new law provides a total of $100 million for outreach campaigns aimed at reducing the number of low-income, uninsured children. The grants to states and organizations ultimately will total $80 million with the remaining funds going to other outreach efforts specified by the law. These grants will be administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
“States have been effective in enrolling over 30 million children in Medicaid and more than 7 million children in CHIP, but there are still millions of uninsured, low-income children who are not enrolled in these programs even though they are eligible,” Cindy Mann, the director of the CMS Center for Medicaid and State Operations, said. “We are looking forward to innovative grant proposals ranging from grass roots efforts to reach eligible but uninsured children to technology-driven initiatives to modernize and streamline enrollment systems.”
Applications for the first cycle of funding are available online at www07.grants.gov. Applications submitted electronically are due by Aug. 6. Applications submitted by mail are due by Aug. 10. Grants will be awarded by Sept. 30. To apply for the grants, applicants must be:
- A state;
- A local government;
- An Indian tribe or tribal consortium or other tribal organization;
- A federal health safety net organization;
- A national, state, local, or community-based public or nonprofit private organization, including those that use community health workers;
- A certified faith-based organization or consortium;
- An elementary or secondary school; or
- A consortium composed of two or more of these entities.