‘Tis the Season for Medicaid Performance Bonuses

‘Twas nearing the end of two thousand eleven

Performance bonus time; new states total seven

In addition to sixteen that earned a bonus last year

Twenty-three states have $296 million reasons to cheer


Child advocates are proud of the effort they led

Tactics for removing red tape dance in their heads

With Medicaid and CHIP staff who put actions in play

All anxiously have awaited the final okay


At last, CMS has released the results

Now all who value kids’ coverage can exult

From ten to sixteen to twenty-three states

In less than three years, our progress is great


Reauthorization of CHIP spurs the states on

Earn bonuses for covering kids all year long

If specific Medicaid enrollment targets are hit

And five of eight policies are in state toolkits


Passionate advocates have been clever and quick

Tackling policy changes and making them stick

Earning bonuses is a good strategic game

Key tactics and policies we all know by name


Use joint applications; assist with premiums, too

Stop in-person interviews; use data to renew

Adopt presumptive eligibility; cover kids for a full year

Liberalize asset tests, put express lane in gear


As families struggle financially each day

Let’s remove obstacles to coverage and pave the way

To peace of mind for parents, for their kids good health

When children are healthy, we all share the wealth


For twenty-three states, the celebration begins

A bonus for kids’ coverage is a significant win-win

To enroll all eligible children, states are propelled

It’s good for state budgets, and families as well


To maximize enrollment, states should be spry

From outreach to streamlining how families apply

To ensuring coverage at renewal so kids don’t lose

There’s a bag full of strategies for states to choose


Let families use the web to get coverage online

Harness technology; use electronic data to align

How eligibility is verified, accurately and fast

Processing paperwork is a thing of the past


Express lane taps other programs to lighten the load

Why re-verify what a sister agency has stowed

Use community partners to help families in need

It’s a vital element that helps states succeed


Focus on retention, keeping kids covered pays off

Not only in lowering state administrative costs

But in measuring quality, ongoing coverage is a must

And to effectively use dollars the public entrusts


Bonus states have adopted best practices that work

And we give them our praise for earning the perk

Other states have time to share next year’s prize

A policy put in place by April first qualifies


Covering kids is a strong value Americans share

It’s smart policy to care how all children fare

Let’s double our efforts we approach the New Year

Covering all children will surely bring us good cheer

CMS has announced that twenty-three states earned more than $296 million in performance bonuses for enrolling children in Medicaid in 2011. Seven new states qualified for the 2011 awards. Connecticut, Georgia, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina and Virginia joined the sixteen states (Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin) that earned performance bonuses in both 2010 and 2011. Individual state awards range from $1.3 million to $28 million.

For more information on the performance bonus provision of CHIPRA, click here. Additional information on how states qualify can be found here. A list of states that qualified in 2011 and the award amounts can be found on here on www.insurekidsnow.gov.


Tricia Brooks
Tricia Brooks is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Children and Families