Time to stand up for CHIP

By: Colin Reusch

As the Memorial Day weekend arrives, members of Congress will be returning to their home states and districts for the upcoming recess. This is a prime opportunity for advocates to speak up in support of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CHIP provides health and dental coverage to more than 8 million children nationwide and is in jeopardy of running out of funding if Congress does not act soon.

Currently, CHIP is authorized through 2019 but funding for the program runs out next fall. State programs are currently working on their 2016 budgets and unless Congress takes action, there will be no new funding to support CHIP after September 30, 2015.

If funding for the program runs out, millions of low-income working families will be worse off. Children currently enrolled in CHIP would be required to get private coverage on the new health insurance marketplaces but the Congressional Budget Office estimates that nearly 2 million children would not be eligible for tax subsidies as a result of the so-called “family glitch.” Without any premium support, replacing CHIP coverage with private insurance will simply be unaffordable for these families.

If CHIP ends, families will pay much more for children’s coverage, even if they are eligible for subsidies.

In fact, if CHIP ends, families will pay much more for children’s coverage, even if they are eligible for subsidies. Under CHIP, families are protected from paying no more than 5% of their income for their children’s health and dental-related expenses, including premiums and cost-sharing. Many CHIP income-eligible families purchasing private coverage could be expected to pay nearly 9% of their annual household income in child-only health expenses in addition to their premiums.

As CDHP has previously noted, the barriers to affordability for children’s dental coverage may be even greater as many families may be subject to additional premiums and cost-sharing in order to make sure their children have comprehensive dental benefits. And unlike CHIP, in most state marketplaces, there is no guarantee that children will receive dental coverage when they purchase a health plan.

Congress must act to ensure that this critical children’s health coverage continues and it’s up to advocates to stand up and deliver that message. Contact your representatives during the upcoming recess and make sure they know that letting CHIP end is not an option.

Talking Points:

  1. CHIP is essential to millions of working families: Today, CHIP provides affordable, comprehensive health coverage to more than 8 million children and 370,000 pregnant women from working families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private coverage.

  2. CHIP works: Medicaid and CHIP have been so successful in covering children that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) kept these programs in place as the foundation for expanding coverage.

  3. Families would be worse off without CHIP: Nearly two million of today’s CHIP-covered children would not be eligible for subsidized coverage in the new health insurance marketplaces as a result of the so-called “family glitch.” Millions of other children that would move to the marketplaces are not necessarily guaranteed dental coverage and that coverage will undeniably be more expensive than CHIP coverage.

  4. Time is running out: Unless Congress takes action, there will be no new funding for CHIP after September 30, 2015.



 

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