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Tuesday, 31 October 2017 07:17

Funding Expires for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

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Congress missed the September 30 deadline to continue funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This means federal funding for this program will expire by the end of October. This could cause strain on state level budgets nationwide, because once CHIP funds run out, states will struggle to continue this important program. 

Extending federal funding for CHIP is significant because the program offers low-cost health coverage for children from birth through age 18 as well as pregnant women. CHIP is designed for families who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford to buy private health coverage. The Washington Post reports that 9 million children obtain health insurance under the CHIP program. CHIP was created to decrease the gap of uninsured children in the United States, which went from 14% when the program started, to 4.5% in 2015. 
 
There is a lot of discussion in Congress on how to reauthorize funding for CHIP. Republicans are proposing to fund the program by making cuts to Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, however, there is no bipartisan support for this proposal. There are currently two bills in Congress to fund CHIP, the “KIDS Act of 2017”  which has multiple bipartisan co-sponsors in the Senate, and the “HEALTHY KIDS Act”, but these bills appear to be stalled.
 
For employers that may have employees affected, we recommend communicating any funding changes to families with children enrolled in CHIP.  Those individuals and families need to be informed about their options in case they lose CHIP coverage, so they can find alternate solutions for health insurance. Depending on the language in your plan document, the loss of CHIP coverage likely creates a qualifying event for employees to move children onto your employer plan.
 
If CHIP does not get reauthorized and funded soon, a few states could run out of money as early as December, with most of the states running out by March, according to a government report.
 
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Read 190 times Last modified on Tuesday, 31 October 2017 11:23
Gaby Romero

Gaby is our bilingual Client Service Specialist. She provides day-to-day support to our clients and members with billing, claims, eligibility, and system issues in English and Spanish. Gaby also assists the Client Managers with creating communications materials, preparing for open enrollment meetings and quoting.