Is CHIP a federal or a state program?
In Kentucky, it’s called KCHIP. In Alaska, it’s Denali KidCare. Louisiana calls it LaCHIP. It may be called something different in each state, but in many ways it’s the same everywhere. Each program is that state’s version of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which “provides health coverage to eligible children,” according to Medicaid’s CHIP website.
How is CHIP funded?
While states can choose how to manage the program, across the country CHIP uses a combination of federal and state funds to insure children up to age 19 who come from families whose income is too high to qualify for Medicaid. While the program has been around for 20 years, it recently came into sharp focus when Congress failed to renew the program before its expiration date. “The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 extended funding for CHIP through federal fiscal year 2017, which ended September 30, 2017,” said April M. Washington, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Region IV.
Who benefits from CHIP?
CHIP currently insures 8.9 million children, says The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, and along with Medicaid, which insures 37.1 million children, it has helped to reduce the uninsured rate of children in the United States to “a record low of 5 percent” as of 2016, according to the Foundation’s June 2017 Fact Sheet.
What happens if CHIP is not renewed?
While the program has enjoyed bipartisan support for the past two decades, disagreement over offsets and provisions in proposed bills has locked members of Congress in a stalemate, and many states are facing a depletion of funds sooner rather than later. Many states still have funds for the CHIP program, but according to the Center for Children and Families of Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute, several states have predicted that they will run out before the end of the year or possibly in January 2018. Still other states predict they will be able to fund CHIP through next spring. Since states determine what benefits are offered through CHIP (based on federal guidelines), each program looks a little different, but all are required to cover vaccinations, which are required in most states for children in public schools.
What’s next for CHIP?
Ultimately “Congress will determine the future of the CHIP program,” according to April Washington.