The Alabama Medicaid Agency will receive a $55 million federal performance bonus for implementing methods to enroll low-income children in the health insurance program in fiscal 2010, Gov. Bob Riley announced Monday.

It is the second year that Alabama has earned the largest performance bonus.

"Alabama [agencies] have worked together in step to prevent children from falling through the cracks when it comes to providing basic health insurance," Riley said. "Receiving this bonus obviously means a lot for our state, budget-wise."

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services bonus is awarded to recognize states that implemented at least five of eight elements that promote enrollment and retention in children's health insurance programs. Winners also had increased state Medicaid enrollment above a target set by federal law.

The bonus payments are part of the Children's Health Insurance Program reauthorization bill signed into law in 2009. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius awarded $206 million in bonuses to 15 states on Monday.

The only other southeastern state recognized in the program was Louisiana, which won a bonus of $3.55 million.

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