HHS Issues Revised CHIP Enrollment Procedures Regulation
HHS issued a regulation last Friday that will "allow states to enroll more children" in their CHIP programs through "streamlined" enrollment procedures. The CHIP regulation addresses several policy areas, including:
- How to determine whether a child qualifies for CHIP;
- How states must screen and enroll eligible children in Medicaid;
- How to set limits on out-of-pocket costs for CHIP families;
- How states can develop benefits packages that qualify as "Secretary-approved coverage."
The regulation revises some requirements that the agency would have imposed under a version of the rule published Jan. 11. The Bush administration delayed the effective date of the rule to review certain provisions and "make appropriate changes." According to HHS, the revisions "promote greater state flexibility" to "encourage" states to develop "approaches that address the needs" of children and families and "make it easier" for states to use a common application form and enrollment process for their CHIP and Medicaid programs, which "can be effective at expanding outreach to eligible families." HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said, "With this new flexibility for states, we hope millions more children will gain access to needed health care services. SCHIP is an important program in the lives of children and their families. It has the potential to help working families who can't afford basic health care coverage for their children." Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (formerly HCFA) Administrator Thomas Scully added, "This rule represents our best efforts, in cooperation with states, to develop policies that will continue SCHIP's success." HHS will publish the revised CHIP regulation as an interim final rule in the June 25
>Federal Register with a 30-day public comment period. The regulation will take effect Aug. 24 (HHS release, 6/22).
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