This week, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) released additional evidence that the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) continues to play a critical role in the coverage landscape for children. Chapter five of the report, “Design Considerations for the Future of Children’s Coverage: Focus on Affordability
,” looks at out-of-pocket spending for children in the 36 states where CHIP operates as a stand-alone program. In every state, CHIP is more affordable than the coverage offered through the Qualified Health Plans sold through the exchanges.
This report underscores the importance of continuing CHIP, which has been keeping family costs low and meeting children’s unique needs for nearly two decades. CHIP protects children and families financially when they need health care, provides pediatric-appropriate benefits, and assures children access to the full range of in-network pediatric primary and specialty providers they need. The program has helped bring the percentage of uninsured children to an all-time low and has increased their access to timely and appropriate care.
Funding for CHIP begins to expire in October 2017, and it’s important for legislators to start now considering the best way to continue CHIP to ensure coverage predictability and stability for children next year and in the future. In addition, efforts must continue to ensure all children have access to pediatric appropriate benefits and providers regardless of their source of coverage.