KCUR News
10:09 am
Wed August 18, 2010

Relief Coming for Children's Health Insurance Backlog

Topkea, KS – The Kansas Health Policy Authority has been rewarded by federal health officials for its efforts to boost enrollment in Healthwave, the state's children's health insurance program.

The agency plans to use the $1.2 million federal bonus payment to hire more staff to process applications, according to spokesman Peter Hancock.

"Because of the increased number that's coming in and because of budget cuts that have affected all state agencies, we have not been able to process applications at the same speed they're coming in," says Hancock. "And we currently have a backlog of about 16,000 applications that have been there longer than 45 days. So we're going to use this money to hire temporary staff to hopefully get that backlog cleared up within six months."

When Congress reauthorized the Children's Health Insurance Program in 2009, they included incentives for states to cut red tape and extend coverage to more children.

Kansas has enrolled more than 20,000 additional children in Healthwave and Medicaid over the last three years. That's due in part to new outreach efforts and in part to the economic downturn, causing more families to lose employer based health insurance.