25 Years of CHIP: Impact of Children's Health Insurance Program
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Children's Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, which in California is part of Medi-Cal.
The program has been wildly successful. As of 2020, just 3.6% of kids in the Golden State were uninsured. Medi-Cal and CHIP serve almost 5.5 million children in the state.
Even though most children are healthy, said Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, it's too big a risk to go without health insurance.
"So any gap in coverage for children is a problem for families and a problem for our country as a whole," she said. "It pays enormous dividends to make sure that children have access to health insurance so that they can grow up healthy and thriving."
The state Legislature has steadily improved Medi-Cal by making undocumented children eligible in 2016, and by eliminating all premiums as of July 1.
Alexandra Parma, senior policy research associate with the First 5 Center for Children's Policy, said California is working to get federal approval to allow kids to stay on Medi-Cal from birth to age 5.
"The change would allow children to be continuously enrolled in Medi-Cal until their fifth birthday," she said, "so they wouldn't have to do those annual renewals as under the previous policy."
Sarah Crow, First 5's managing director, said the program's biggest flaw is that too few doctors accept Medi-Cal, resulting in long wait times to see existing providers.
"We have too few providers that accept Medi-Cal because of very low payment rates that are offered to the MediCal program," she said, "so that's where the program suffers."
Crow advised parents to ensure the county Medi-Cal office has a current address on file, so no one loses coverage. The state held off on sending out annual renewal notices during COVID, but that will change once the pandemic state of emergency is lifted.
get more stories like this via email
The coalition known as "Think Babies Michigan" has secured more than $36 million in funding to offer grants to child-care providers for infants and to…
Nearly 100 school board elections are coming up in Minnesota this fall, with some gaining attention because of the candidates who are running…
The so-called conservative "hostile takeover" of a small, progressive liberal arts college in Florida is seeing some resistance from former students …
High rent prices are draining the budgets of many Nebraska renters, who are paying between 30% and 50% of their income on rent. In some parts of the …
As the federal government nears a shutdown over a budget impasse in Congress, Wisconsin offices that help low-income individuals worry they'll have …
Indigenous leaders are traveling through the Northwest to highlight the plight of dwindling fish populations in the region. The All Our Relations …
Washington performs well in a new report scoring states' long-term care systems. The Evergreen State ranked second in AARP's Long-Term Services and …
A lack of housing options, mental-health challenges and a lack of connections and support have combined to drive an uptick in the number of foster …