HHS Grants CHIP Waivers to Three States
Outgoing HHS Secretary Donna Shalala yesterday announced the approval of three CHIP waivers, allowing three states -- New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wisconsin -- to offer health insurance coverage to parents of children eligible under CHIP or Medicaid. This marks the first time HHS has ever granted waivers in the CHIP program. The waivers will provide additional federal matching funds to cover low-income families that do not qualify for traditional Medicaid but cannot afford private insurance. In addition, New Jersey and Rhode Island will expand coverage to pregnant women who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid under the waiver. "The SCHIP program is without doubt one of the proudest achievements of the Clinton Administration," Shalala said, adding, "We now have over 3.3 million children covered -- extending this help to their parents is a natural progression of this program." The waivers approved yesterday include:
- New Jersey: The state will enroll the parents of children eligible for Medicaid and CHIP with family incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level, or $34,100 for family of four, and pregnant women with incomes between 185% and 200% percent of federal poverty line in the KidCare program;
- Rhode Island: The state will enroll parents with incomes up to approximately $31,543 -- or between 100% and 185% of the federal poverty level -- and pregnant women with incomes between 185% and 250% of the federal poverty line in the RIteCare program;
- Wisconsin: The state will enroll parents with incomes
between 100% and 185% federal poverty level in the BadgerCare program.
"Enrolling parents improves the chance of enrolling children. These three states have done a good job of enrolling children. We hope that these waivers will help them do even better," Timothy Westmoreland, director of HCFA's Center for Medicaid and State Operations, said (HHS release, 1/18).
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