• December 28, 2011  |  By

    ‘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
    is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Children and Families