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Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 10:51am

Georgia Doesn't Get Federal Medicaid Bonus

Federal officials announced yesterday they’re giving 15 states millions of dollars in bonuses for enrolling more kids in Medicaid and Peachcare. But Georgia was not one of them. Public health advocates say the state could do a better job getting eligible kids publicly funded health insurance.

In order to get the bonuses, states must show benchmark enrollment and meet five of eight criteria that make it easier for people to sign up and stay on.

Georgia has met only three of the criteria since the grant began two years ago. Joann Yoon with Voices for Georgia’s Children says the state could improve enrollment rates because the demand for the state’s Medicaid and Peachcare programs is definitely there.

"Three-hundred thousand is roughly the number of children who are uninsured,"says Yoon. "One hundred and ninety-five thousand children are those who are uninsured but currently eligible for one of the two programs."

Yoon says part of the problem is there are two programs that function separately so some kids bounce back and forth, others fall through the cracks, and the paperwork can get messy.

Each of the programs serves people with different degrees of poverty.

State officials say they continue to review the federal bonus grant. They have the bonus in their projected 2011 budget.