Child Health Insurance Program running out of money
22 December, 2017, 02:09
A new analysis from Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families concludes that one-half of all states will run out of their Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding in January, up from an original projection of 16. The Department of Medical Assistance Services (The Agency that administers CHIP - Called FAMIS in Virginia) sent out letters on Dec 11th to the parents of the 68,500 children now enrolled in CHIP across Virginia ( Including around 10,000 in our 10th Congressional District) that unless Congress acts immediately, coverage could be terminated as temporary funding for the program would run out on 1/31/2018 as the program lapsed on Sept 30th, 2017.
For a woman learning of an unintended pregnancy and facing the daunting reality of thousands of dollars in medical bills for prenatal care and delivery, unpaid family leave when the child is born, and uncertainty about health insurance coverage for their newborn, learning that CHIP is available to take care of two of those concerns is a small blessing.
Congress must pass funding legislation by the end of the week.
I sincerely hope Congress reauthorizes CHIP now and for a longer term.
Neighboring Alabama is freezing enrollment on January 1 and then will begin to disenroll families now in the program at the start of February.
Some states that are almost out of money are preparing to freeze enrollment or cancel CHIP coverage if lawmakers don't soon reach a deal.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress say they support the program, but they have not agreed on where to get the money to pay for it. Since then, some states have relied on unspent funds to keep it going.
Perhaps he can appeal to his more conservative members by emphasizing the federal funding protects pregnant women who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid - they are gainfully employed - but too little to afford private health insurance.
Hickenlooper called it a "one-time only bandaid" until Congress acts. It now has enough money to keep operating through January. CHIP covers dental and eye care, prescription drugs, mental health care and pre-existing conditions. Alabama has one of the broadest eligibility levels - 317 percent of the poverty level, or $78,000 for a family of four. It is exactly how to pay for the $15.6 billion a year program where the disagreement remains. The Senate has not voted, but Democrats there also refuse to tie any CHIP extension to higher Medicare premiums or siphoning money from the public health fund.
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