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Families facing CHIP deadline

Families facing CHIP deadline

September 21st, 2017 by Brittany Hilderbrand in Local News

Families enrolled in the Children's Health Insurance Program need to know by Sept. 30 whether they will be eligible for continued insurance coverage assistance funded at the federal level.

In Missouri, the federally matched program serves more than 80,000 children across the state.

In order for CHIP funding to be appropriated, President Donald Trump must approve appropriations to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services prior to Oct. 1, the start of a new federal budget cycle.

At this time, Trump has not indicated any cuts to the program.

CHIP was created by Congress in 1997 specifically for uninsured children in moderate- to low-income working families who are not eligible for Medicaid. CHIP builds on the Medicaid program with some key differences. Unlike Medicaid, CHIP is a block grant, with each state receiving an allocation of funds that is capped.

A 2016 monthly management report shows 1,018 children and newborns in Cole County received coverage through CHIP, while in July 2017 alone 818 received services, according to data reported by the Missouri Department of Social Services.

Missouri Children's Leadership Council Executive Director Brian Schmidt sent out a news release Wednesday emphasizing the need for access to health insurance for children.

"It is vital that Congress act to give families peace of mind knowing that their children's coverage will not end," Schmidt said. "Fortunately, programs that benefit children are supported by members of both parties. Extending CHIP funding is a win for both Republicans and Democrats, but most importantly, it is a win for children and families in Missouri."

In fiscal year 2016, the federal government provided Missouri a 97 percent match rate, which is equivalent to $283 a month for children, according to data from the Missouri Hospital Association. MHA's report also indicates families whose earnings are above 150 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for CHIP, as well as uninsured pregnant women who lack access to affordable health insurance through other sources.

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