The state of Maryland has received a $28.3 million performance bonus for its efforts in enrolling children in federal health programs.

The money was given to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for fiscal year 2011.

The state has expanded coverage to more than 300,000 people since 2007 and almost half were children.

Bonuses were given to states with at least five Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program features that promoted the enrollment and retention of health coverage for children. The states also needed to show a significant increase in Medicaid enrollment among children.

In Maryland, the number of children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP has increased from 407,300 to 545,200 since January 2007.

The state increased enrollment by eliminating a requirement that applicants must apply in-person; simplifying the application form; and allowing proof of eligibility for other low-income programs to be used to qualify for Medicaid. It also changed eligibility requirement so that families could qualify solely on income and not also on the family's possessions.

andrea.walker@baltsun.com

Twitter.com: ankwalker

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