(HealthDay)—More children in low-income families will get health insurance coverage, thanks to nearly $32 million in grants announced by U.S. health officials Tuesday.
The grants, which will help identify and enroll children eligible for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), were awarded to 41 state agencies, community health centers, school-based organizations and nonprofit groups in 22 states.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the grant amounts range from $190,000 to $1 million per recipient and focus on five areas. These include:
- Getting schools involved in efforts to enroll children and keep them in the insurance programs.
- Reducing health coverage disparities by promoting enrollment of children most likely to be uninsured.
- Streamlining enrollment for children in other public benefit programs such as nutritional programs.
- Improving application assistance resources to provide high quality, reliable Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal services in local communities.
- Training communities to help families understand the new application and enrollment system, and to deliver effective assistance to families with children eligible for Medicaid or CHIP.
"Today's grants will ensure that more children across the nation have access to the quality health care they need," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a government news release. "We are drawing from successful children's health coverage outreach and enrollment efforts to help promote enrollment this fall in Medicaid and the new health insurance marketplace."
The Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach and Enrollment Grants are part of the $140 million included in the Affordable Care Act and the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 for enrollment and renewal outreach.
In recent years, efforts to make Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal easier, along with improved outreach activities, have led to fewer uninsured children. By 2012, the rate of uninsured children had dropped to 6.6 percent with about 1.7 million kids gaining coverage since 2008, according to HHS.
Explore further: Preparation underway for implementation of ACA in 2014
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more about children and health insurance.