CMS Awards $48 Million in Outreach Funds for Children’s Coverage

Earlier this week, CMS announced that it was awarding $48 million in cooperative agreements to 39 organizations in 25 states to enroll eligible children in health coverage. Since 2009, CMS has awarded $210 million in funds to connect kids to coverage through various federal appropriation bills. Unfortunately, this latest round of grants was delayed as a result of the lapse in CHIP funding in late 2017 – missing the historically-successful back-to-school outreach push last fall.

The good news is that this round of funding – ranging from $500,000 to $1.5 million – will cover a three-year period, which provides grantees with more financial stability to retain staff and implement ongoing strategies. And there will be more to disperse from the combined 10-year extension of funding for CHIP, which provides a total of $168 million in outreach funds.

Given the competitive nature of this funding opportunity, it is hard to fully assess how targeted the final awards are. However, of the 25 states in which funding was approved, 21 states have more uninsured children than the national median – including all but one (Ohio) of the top 11 states with the highest number of uninsured children. Eighteen of the 25 states also experienced an enrollment decline in 2018. These states have lots of work to do to regain momentum in covering eligible, uninsured children.

We noticed some familiar organizations in the list, including the University of South Florida and the Arizona Primary Care Association, so congratulations to all of the new awardees. We wish you success in connecting uninsured children with coverage. We need your help in regaining our historic momentum in providing health coverage to the nation’s children.

Tricia Brooks
Tricia Brooks is a Research Professor at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy’s Center for Children and Families