Obamacare is more popular now than ever before as Americans fear Trump’s potential reform. Every American will be somehow affected by an Obamacare repeal. Have you considered what it could mean for kids who have little or no control over their health care coverage? How much do you know about CHIP? We’ll do our best to answer your questions.
What Is CHIP?
CHIP, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, was formed in 1997 to cover children up to age 19 who are not eligible for Medicaid but cannot afford other coverage.
Who is eligible?
- Kids at or above 200% of the FPL (Federal Poverty Level) and up to 300%, which falls into Medicaid territory.
- Pregnant women and children who are lawfully in the country (includes visas, green cards, etc.) even if they aren’t citizens.
- Children of public employees
What is covered?
- Early and periodic screenings, diagnostics, and treatment services (EPSDT)
- EPSDT dental
- Physician services
- Surgical and medical services
- Lab test and x-rays
Obamacare & CHIP
In 2009, Obama signed the CHIPRA – the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act. It gave states new funding for cost-sharing, allowing states to decide how much extra financial coverage they could provide for children’s care. Medicaid.gov states that CHIPRA’s main focus was allowing states better control to “identify, enroll, and retain” children in CHIP.
- An “Express Lane Eligibility” program to allow states to gather information to find eligible children.
- More funding for outreach to promote both new enrollment and renewals.
- A performance bonus incentive for states to try to cover as many children as possible.
- An option for states to verify U.S. citizenship with the SSA to prevent losses.
- Automatic eligibility for newborns whose mothers already have Medicaid and/or CHIP coverage.
Trump & CHIP
Nearly 8.4 million children in the U.S. are currently enrolled in CHIP. Aside from the benefit of keeping kids healthy, it’s a business investment. The healthier people are as kids, the more productive they will be in the workplace. It’s a win-win situation.
CHIP is set to expire this September – it will be up to Trump to renew the program. Trump has not directly stated any plans to reform CHIP, but he has discussed new funding for Medicaid, and CHIP falls under Medicaid’s umbrella. Currently, Medicaid operates through both state and federal funding. The federal government matches each dollar that a state spends. Trump wants to instead introduce “block grants.” States will earn Medicaid funding through grants alone, and will likely turn to taxes or fees to earn the money that they can’t get federally. CNBC predicts that with these block grants, CHIP will downsize by 26% in the next ten years, leaving millions of children and pregnant women without coverage.
We’ll be keeping a close watch on Trump’s health care reform and any funding cuts that may occur. Check back here for news updates and advice for securing your perfect coverage plan.