Low income families across the state are facing a rough start to the year as 7,000 kids will lose their coverage.
The Alabama Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) is beginning their first stages toward shutting down coverage for all kids it covers in the state. The first phase will involve cutting 7,000 children from low income families starting on January 1, 2018.
State officials say CHIP is running out of funds following Congress’s failure to renew in time.
The kids whose Alabama Children’s Health Insurance Plan, also known as All Kids, is up for renewal at the start of January will not be provided with the opportunity to stay in the program. Furthermore, any new enrollments will be frozen. Moreover, unless Congress takes action and renews funding to the program, Alabama will be closing it down entirely. This means that unless Congress finally makes the decision to renew CHIP, all 84,000 kids currently covered by the program will be dropped on February 1, 2018.
The Alabama Children’s Health Insurance Plan will be the first one to shut down if Congress doesn’t renew.
CHIP expired on October 1, 2017 when federal Congress couldn’t come to a decision in time, despite the fact that the program has bipartisan support.
“This will be devastating for many families,” said Alabama CHIP director Cathy Caldwell.
Other states currently issuing letters to families covered by their CHIP programs include Colorado and Virginia. Those states are also warning parents that officials may need to make changes to their kids health insurance programs and that this may mean reducing or cutting coverage until Federal Congress comes to a decision.
Both Republicans and Democrats in federal Congress say they support CHIP. However, they have yet to come to an agreement regarding the source of its funding. One in three states have already stated that their kids health insurance plans will have been drained of funds by the close of January, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – the agency overseeing CHIP – has been attempting to redistribute billions of dollars worth of its unspent funds in order to help states to extend the life of their programs as long as they can. That said, Caldwell estimates that the Alabama Children’s Health Insurance Plan will have only enough funding to cover claims made until the end of February.