Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)..

By: Taylor

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is designed to provide health insurance coverage to children in families, who are unable to afford private insurance on their own, yet having an income that is too high for them to qualify for Medicaid. Just like the Medicaid program, CHIP is administered by the states, and is jointly funded by the federal government and the individual states as well, with a federal matching rate for state CHIP programs being typically 15 percentage points higher than that of Medicaid. To clarify, if a state has a 50% matching rate on Medicaid, the matching rate for CHIP would be 65%.

The CHIP Program began in 1997 and covers more than 8 million children in families with income which is too high for Medicaid coverage.

Each state administers its own CHIP program with broad guidance from CMS. The guidelines allow for the CHIP program to be designed as follows:

As a Medicaid Expansion – which has been done in 7 states, Washington DC and 5 Territories
As a separate Child Health Insurance Program – which has been done in 17 states
A combination of a Medicaid Expansion and as a separate child health insurance program – which has been done in 26 states.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act or CHIPRA was signed in 2009. CHIPRA provided additional funding for CHIP along with making improvements to both the Medicaid and CHIP programs. In addition, CHIPRA authorized new federal funding designated to be used at outreach to children who are eligible for CHIP or Medicaid, yet were not enrolled. This included a $100 million funding to which would be made available between fiscal years 2009 and 2013. Those funds were to be used in this fashion:

$10 million for a national outreach campaign
$10 million in grants to Native American tribes, Native American Health Service providers and other tribal health care providers
$80 million in grants to promote both enrollment and retention in Medicaid and CHIP.
How The Affordable Care Act Affects CHIP

The Affordable Care Act, signed in 2010, will maintain the CHIP eligibility standards that are currently in place through the year 2019. The Affordable Care Act also extends CHIP funding through to October 1, 2015. At that time, the already enhanced CHIP federal matching rate will increase to 23%. This will bring the average federal matching rate for CHIP to 93%. In addition, the Affordable Care Act also provides for an additional $40 million in federal funding to continue the efforts already in place by CHIPRA for the promotion of enrollment – and retention – in CHIP and Medicaid.

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