For Immediate Release:
August 5, 2022
Celebrating CHIP’s 25th Anniversary
At The Children’s Partnership (TCP), we celebrate the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)’s 25th anniversary and its contributions to expanding coverage to all children in California and millions of children and pregnant women, including those most marginalized, across the country.
CHIP offers families more peace of mind by covering kids whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private health insurance. In California, where CHIP and Medicaid together comprise Medi-Cal, families with incomes up to 266% Federal Poverty Level (FPL) qualify for Medi-Cal coverage – coverage that would otherwise be financially out of reach for many. Medicaid and CHIP work together to provide free or low-cost health coverage for kids and cover important services like doctor and dentist visits, immunizations, prescriptions, hospital visits and more. These programs are designed to work together to support children and families in California who aren’t offered or can’t afford health insurance on their own.
For more than two decades, CHIP and Medicaid have sharply reduced the rate of uninsured children: in California, the child uninsured rate dropped from 10.5 percent in 2008 to 3.6 percent in 2019. Together, these programs have successfully kept children connected to health coverage.
With the help of CHIP, Medi-Cal coverage has helped California reach historic highs in keeping kids enrolled in coverage. When the COVID-19 continuous coverage protections are lifted, however, hundreds of thousands of children in California are expected to lose their Medi-Cal coverage and are at risk of becoming uninsured. This shift will disproportionately impact children of color who face higher rates of unstable housing, unstable income or language barriers.
As we mark the anniversary of CHIP’s passage into law this week, we celebrate a bipartisan commitment to caring for our nation’s kids. We must renew this commitment and permanently fund CHIP so that states like California can successfully and responsibly run the program and kids can get the coverage they need.
Looking ahead, California can do more to help children thrive by removing barriers to enrollment in Medi-Cal. Here are two actions our state leaders should take:
- Quickly implement the new multi-year continuous Medi-Cal coverage for children up to age 5, and
- Monitor retention and churning data of children in Medi-Cal that can be stratified by race/ethnicity, language and socio-economic status, and make the data publicly accessible.
Health coverage is essential to a healthy childhood and a thriving future. Research shows that when kids have health coverage, they are more likely to succeed in school and have economic stability. Removing enrollment barriers, keeping children enrolled in public coverage and making CHIP funding permanent helps support children’s well-being and creates a stronger California for all of us.
The Children’s Partnership (TCP)
TCP envisions a California where all children—regardless of their race, ethnicity or place of birth—have the resources and opportunities they need to grow up healthy and thrive, and its mission is to advance this vision of child health equity through research, policy and community engagement. Learn more at www.childrenspartnership.org.