CMS commits over $49M to reduce uninsured rate among children & boost Medicaid enrollment among parents & pregnant people
This is great news, and there's also a small but important wording choice which should be noted:
CMS Commits Over $49 Million to Reduce Uninsured Rate Among Children and Boost Medicaid Enrollment Among Parents, Pregnant People
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) committed a record $49.4 million to fund organizations that can connect more eligible children, parents, and pregnant individuals to health care coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Awardees—including state/local governments, tribal organizations, federal health safety net organizations, non-profits, schools, and others—will receive up to $1.5 million each for a three-year period to reduce the number of uninsured children by advancing Medicaid/CHIP enrollment and retention.
“No one should be left without access to critical health care, especially during the pandemic,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “This historic funding opportunity is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing efforts to get as many Americans covered with affordable, quality health coverage. We encourage grassroots organizations and other trusted voices to help us reach and enroll some of our hardest-to-reach populations, including children and parents-to-be.”
“CMS is using every tool available to expand access to coverage and care,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to advancing health equity, and encourages organizations that serve children, their parents, and pregnant individuals in diverse and underserved communities to apply. These organizations play a pivotal role in connecting people to coverage since families and individuals often seek help from community organizations they know and trust.”
Supporting President Joe Biden’s 2021 Executive Order on Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, this notice of funding opportunity leverages the Connecting Kids to Coverage program to continue making health care more accessible and affordable. Funded organizations will provide enrollment and renewal assistance to children and their families, as well as pregnant people—a new optional target population in this year’s award announcement.
Applicants will be encouraged to consider a range of activities, including:
- Engaging schools and other programs serving young people;
- Bridging racial and demographic health coverage disparities by targeting communities with low coverage rates;
- Establishing and developing application assistance resources to provide high-quality, reliable enrollment and renewal services in local communities;
- Using social media to conduct virtual outreach and enrollment assistance; and
- Using parent mentors and community health workers to assist families with enrolling in Medicaid and CHIP, retaining coverage, and addressing social determinants of health.
This unprecedented funding is vital to making sure children are enrolled in coverage, especially those who are eligible for but not yet enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP coverage. Studies show that, of the approximately four million children who remain uninsured, 2.3 million are eligible for Medicaid and CHIP. Many families do not know that their children may be eligible or understand how to enroll. Disparities also remain particularly pronounced among specific groups. American Indian and Alaska Native children experience the highest uninsured rate (11.8%), for example, followed by Hispanic (11.4%) and non-Hispanic Black children (5.9%).
In addition, Medicaid and CHIP play a critical role by providing coverage for over 42% of births in the nation, nearly half of which are to Black, Hispanic, or American Indian/Alaskan Native individuals. Because Medicaid and CHIP coverage is a key step in ensuring access to necessary prenatal care and healthy birth outcomes, this funding opportunity is including pregnant individuals as a new target population. Expanding the outreach target population to include pregnant individuals will also directly lead to increased enrollment of eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP; generally, the infants born to individuals who are enrolled in these programs at the time of birth are automatically deemed eligible for Medicaid and CHIP for one year.
The Helping Ensure Access for Little Ones, Toddlers, and Hopeful Youth by Keeping Insurance Delivery Stable Act of 2017 (HEALTHY KIDS Act) provided continued funding for outreach and enrollment aimed at reducing the number of children who are eligible for, but not enrolled/retained in, Medicaid and CHIP. Since 2009, $216 million has been awarded to more than 294 community-based organizations, states, and local governments to support the enrollment and retention of eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP.
I'm sure you caught it but for those who didn't: Pregnant people and/or pregnant individuals, not pregnant women.
I admit it took me a bit of time to wrap my own head around this, but the bottom line is this: Transgender and nonbinary people who do not identify as women can also get pregnant and deliver babies.
For what it's worth, while it's probably not the easiest thing in the world to track via polling or surveys, a 2016 survey from the Williams Institute estimated that around 0.6% of U.S. adults identify as transgender. Assuming this is roughly accurate, that's around 1.6 million U.S. adults.
Kudos to the Biden Administration for this move as well as for acknowledging the existence of this population.