Update On the Children’s Health Insurance Program
Funding for a health insurance program for children – the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – arose as an offshoot of discussions in Congress on the budget. The CHIP program expired last September, and a permanent solution had not been passed by the beginning of this year.
CHIP Program & What It Does
Created in 1997, CHIP is low-cost insurance for families with incomes too high for Medicaid but potentially too low to afford private insurance plans. CHIP covers routine check-ups, doctor visits, prescriptions, emergency services and hospital care, among other things, according to HealthCare.gov.
Every state has a CHIP program, but the rules and qualifications vary state by state.
Nearly nine million children in the U.S. were enrolled in the CHIP program for the fiscal year 2016, according to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
About The Funding
The program expired on Sept. 30, and a short-term funding extension was passed by Congress shortly before Christmas. Many states have nearly exhausted their funds.
Families are worried, particularly families with children who have ongoing health conditions who rely on insurance for treatments to keep them healthy and give them the care that they need.
Uncertainty around CHIP funding presents administrative and economic headaches for states that try to plan for the program’s future in an “uncertain environment”.
What The Experts Say
Without this program, these children are caught in a dangerous gap that would deny them access to needed care and every day that CHIP goes without a long-term re-authorization is a day that access to health care is threatened for the most deserving and vulnerable among us.
During the budget talks, refunding was strongly encouraged and it appears that on February 7th, the Senate reached a budget agreement that will fund the program for 10 years.
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Source: News Report