Employee communications

Child on CHIP healthcare with Doctor before it expired

What happened to CHIP?

In 1997, a bi-partisan committee came together and passed the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to provide low cost health insurance to children in families with low and moderate incomes as well as to pregnant women.  Twenty years later, Congress has allowed the law that covers 9 million children to expire.

What happens next?

Funding will not run out – yet.  The federal government foots a majority of the bill (about two thirds) and gives states 2 years to spend their annual allowance.  It is likely that most states will have some funding left to spend through this model while a renewal law is being passed.

A bipartisan outline of a renewal deal, titled The Hatch-Wyden deal, is already underway in Congress, but, time is not on the side of CHIP recipients.  If Congress waits too long to take action, funding will run dry and the effects on children’s health could be devastating.

It is important to note that under the ACA, many children will be eligible to receive coverage under their parents’ workplace or through the marketplace. However, the loss of CHIP will still result in a number of children losing insurance completely.

What will the effects be if funding is not secured soon?

Immediate effects will be seen in schools, according to the Washington Post, as children under this law will likely no longer be able to see a doctor for routine checkups, immunizations, visits when sick and other services.  Not having direct access to these services could result in more serious health issues down the road for uninsured children, as well as increase the spread of sicknesses in schools and daycares.

Recipients of CHIP will also lose out on dental care, something that is often excluded from low-cost private plans.  Additionally, children with special health needs are at risk for losing care they need such as physical, occupational, and speech and language therapies that are covered under all CHIP plans.

Employers could also be affected as the model CHIP notices have to potential to change or be assigned a new release date if funding doesn’t renew by the end of the year. Contact us today with any questions you may have about CHIP compliance and ask how we can ensure you’re taking the right steps in this uncertain time.