CHIP talks progress as states prepare to notify families of funding shortfall

U.S. Capitol Building
Lawmakers in both chambers held bipartisan talks about CHIP over Thanksgiving break and are nearing an agreement on a deal to reauthorize funding for the program.

While lawmakers are making headway in their negotiations to reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, some states are already preparing to start the process of shutting down their CHIP programs.

Funding for the health insurance program for low-income children expired Sept. 30, and while the House has since passed a CHIP reauthorization bill, its path in the Senate is uncertain because of partisan disputes about how to pay for it.

On the plus side, however, lobbyists and aides told The Hill that lawmakers in both chambers held bipartisan talks about CHIP over Thanksgiving break and are nearing an agreement on a deal.

The package, which would include funding for CHIP, community health centers and other expiring programs, could be added onto a short-term spending bill in early December or a longer-term spending bill later in the month, the article adds.

RELATED: Hospitals start getting nervous about CHIP reauthorization

On the state level, meanwhile, officials in nearly a dozen states are preparing to notify families that their CHIP programs are running out of money. Colorado, for example, announced that is has begun sending letters to its Children's Health Plan Plus members advising them to start researching private health insurance options, as they could lose coverage at the end of January. And Virginia will send letters to families starting Dec. 1, The Washington Post reported.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently sent a bulletin to states that said the agency has already redistributed unused CHIP funds from previous fiscal years to help states cover their shortfalls. However, there is just $3 billion of that funding available, which will fall well short of covering the national projected shortfall of $13 billion if Congress fails to act.

An association that represents safety net health plans, meanwhile, has launched a campaign to pressure Congress to reauthorize CHIP funding.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include a link to the announcement from Colorado about its CHIP program.

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