December 13, 2017

Update on CHIP Funding

Federal CHIP funding expired on September 30. So far, states have managed to keep their CHIP programs up and running, but some states will deplete their CHIP funds soon; Virginia and Colorado have started starting to notify beneficiaries that they may lose coverage. (See No Set Federal Notice Period for CHIP - States Decide How Much Notice to Give Families Losing Coverage.) The temporary spending bill enacted on December 8 included a provision allowing the administration to re-allocate left-over CHIP funds to the states that need it most urgently. (See What Does the Continuing Resolution Mean for CHIP?)

Child health advocates and governors have been urging Congress to approve the bipartisan, five-year CHIP extension that has been agreed to by the House and the Senate Finance Committee - but without the House bill's offsets for the cost of the CHIP extension. The next opportunity to do so is on the temporary spending bill that must be enacted no later than December 22 (see below). Advocates will be making a hard push for Congress to include the CHIP extension in that legislation. Whether that push will be successful is difficult to predict at this time. If the CHIP funding is not extended, more states may need to scale back or eliminate their CHIP programs. States with CHIP incorporated into their Medicaid programs will receive less funding than they do now to cover the CHIP population. See State Plans for CHIP as Federal CHIP Funds Run Out (Kaiser Family Foundation, 12/6/17); Frequently Asked Questions about the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) (National Academy for State Health Policy, updated 12/8/17; a very clear explanations of what states can do if CHIP funds run out.)