Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) covered an astounding 48 percent of all children with special health care needs in 2016, according to a recently released Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. Ensuring access to health care for children is essential for America.
Children with special needs are more likely to have multiple conditions and to be in poorer health, which makes access to care critically important for the long-term. Thankfully, Congress extended federal funding for CHIP, helping to cover nearly 9 million children across the nation.
In January 2018, Congress voted to extend funding for CHIP through the HEALTHY KIDS Act, ending a lengthy debate over the future of CHIP and the critical coverage it provides. The extension includes:
- Federal funding through 2023
- Extension of federal matching payment rates for CHIP
- Extension of state requirements to maintain income eligibility standards, methodologies, and procedures
- Extension of CHIP Look-Alike Plans, Express Lane Eligibility, Childhood Obesity Demonstration, Pediatric Quality Measures Program and the Outreach and Enrollment Program
After the current six-year extension of CHIP, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an updated analysis, which found that a 10-year extension of CHIP funding would save $6 billion. That’s because it would be cheaper for the government to provide CHIP’s coverage than to cover a child through the individual insurance Marketplace.
With new updated costs from CBO, Congress voted on another bill to extend CHIP funding four more years in the ACCESS Act. This new law maintains all of the provisions and extensions in the HEALTHY KIDS Act through 2027.
CHIP will now have 10 years of federal support, which could save the U.S. health system billions of dollars. More importantly, this funding guarantees good coverage for millions of children.