HHS and CMS announce grants to improve enrollment of eligible AI/AN uninsured children in Medicaid and CHIP

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced grants to 41 health programs operated by the Indian Health Service; tribes and tribal organizations; and urban Indian organizations. The grants will help improve outreach and enrollment of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) uninsured children eligible for, but not enrolled in, their state's Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Programs (CHIP). On Nov. 19, 2009, the HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, announced the availability of $10 million in grant funding; the application deadline to submit proposals was Jan. 15, 2010.

“We are glad to know that these grantees will be working in new ways to specifically reach out to American Indian and Alaska Native children and families”

"There are thousands of uninsured American Indian and Alaska Native children across the country who are eligible for health coverage under Medicaid or CHIP, but not enrolled," said Secretary Sebelius. "The grants we are awarding today throughout the country will help the health organizations that work closely with these children and their families, develop effective outreach and enrollment strategies."

The grants awarded today are part of a broader effort to find and enroll uninsured children who are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP but not enrolled. The Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA) set aside $100 million between 2009 and 2013 expressly to help enroll these children, including $10 million specifically to be awarded to Indian health providers. CMS was tasked with awarding available funds to programs that best targeted geographic areas with high rates of eligible but uninsured AI/AN children, many of whom live in some of the most remote and economically depressed areas of our country.

To be eligible for these grants, AI/AN health providers were required to demonstrate credibility with their local tribal and urban Indian communities in conducting outreach and enrollment activities. The grantees will report to CMS those outreach activities found to be the most effective to enroll and retain AI/AN children in Medicaid and CHIP so that CMS can share these practices among all grantees.

"We are glad to know that these grantees will be working in new ways to specifically reach out to American Indian and Alaska Native children and families," said Cindy Mann, director of the CMS Center for Medicaid and State Operations. "We look forward to working with our new grantees and learning how culturally appropriate outreach activities result in effective enrollment and retention of children and families in Medicaid and CHIP."

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