While children’s health coverage does not affect a child’s ability to get treatment if he or she is sick or injured, children without health insurance often do not get routine and preventive care. This can result in health risks going undetected until issues become more serious and treatment ultimately more expensive. As of 2016, the most recent data from the Small Area Health Insurance Estimate (SAHIE) of the United States Census Bureau shows that 96.3% of Maryland’s children have health insurance. While this represents a slight decline from 2014, Maryland has made significant strides in connecting children to health insurance, and continues to outpace the US as a whole. Much of this increase is a result of Maryland’s decision to expand Medicaid and add more children to the State’s coverage.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene works with families to enroll children in the Maryland Children’s Health Program (MCHP) and MCHP Premium for families below 300% of the Federal Poverty Level. Maryland has implemented a number of features over the last few years to streamline the enrollment process for Medicaid and MCHP, while continuing to increase enrollment. As a result, from FY2010-2013, Maryland received annual performance bonuses from the Department of Health and Human Services.