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Local News July 11, 2013  RSS feed

Federal Cash To Bring Health Ins. Coverage To No. Queens

CHIP Grant For Low-Income Residents

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has provided a grant of more than $870,000 to a firm to expand health care coverage to young residents in several northern Queens neighborhoods, it was announced.

Public Health Solutions will received $874,948 to bridge health care disparities by developing and implementing an outreach/educational plan targeting Hispanic children and families in Astoria, Corona, Elmhurst, Flushing, Jackson Heights and Long Island City. The project will co-locate enrollment and retention services at community sites and maintain existing systems for a smooth transition to the New York health insurance exchange implementation.

The organization has a proven successful model, which has yielded 70,000 enrollments in the last 12 years, according to the HHS.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the award was among nearly $32 million in grants for efforts to identify and enroll children eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach and Enrollment Grants were awarded to a total of 41 state agencies, community health centers, school-based organizations and nonprofit groups in 22 states; two grantees are multistate organizations.

“Today’s grants will ensure that more children across the nation have access to the quality health care they need,” said Sebelius last Wednesday, July 3. “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.”

Efforts to streamline Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal practices, combined with robust outreach activities, have helped reduce the number of uninsured children. Since 2008, 1.7 million children have gained coverage and the rate of uninsured children has dropped to 6.6 percent in 2012.

Grants were made in five focus areas:

• engaging schools in outreach, enrollment and retention activities;

• reducing health coverage disparities by reaching out to subgroups of children that are less likely to have health coverage;

• streamlining enrollment for individuals participating in other public benefit programs such as nutritional or other assistance programs;

• improving application assistance resources to provide high quality, reliable Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal services in local communities; and

• 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.

These awards are part of the $140 million included in the Affordable Care Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009 for enrollment and renewal outreach.

The grants will build on the Secretary’s Connecting Kids to Coverage Challenge to find and enroll all eligible children and support outreach strategies that have been shown to be successful.

Grant amounts range from $190,000 to $1 million.

For a full list of grantees, visit www.insurekidsnow.gov.