States Expand or Sustain CHIP, Medicaid Access Despite Budget Deficits
Forty-eight states and Washington, D.C., expanded or maintained eligibility and enrollment for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program in 2010, despite facing budget deficits, according to a survey of all 50 states by the Kaiser Family Foundation's Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Modern Healthcare reports.
Efforts by states to expand eligibility and outreach resulted in "historic enrollments" in both programs nationwide, according to Modern Healthcare (Daly, Modern Healthcare, 1/11).
According to Kaiser Health News, only Arizona and New Jersey reduced enrollment, by taking advantage of exceptions in federal policies intended to prevent coverage reductions.
Meanwhile, some states narrowed eligibility through eliminating benefits and raising premiums or copayments, but the report labeled those changes as "modest" (Miles, Kaiser Health News, 1/11).
Effects of Federal Funding, Recession
States were required to maintain eligibility to receive a portion of the $87 billion in extra federal funding for the programs through the 2009 economic stimulus package (Modern Healthcare, 1/11). In addition, the federal health reform law dissuaded states from decreasing enrollment (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/11).
Job losses attributed to the economic recession resulted in a growing number of uninsured residents, KHN reports. According to the report, the Medicaid funding in the economic stimulus package prevented many states from cutting coverage in 2010 (Kaiser Health News, 1/11).
However, the report notes that states still have to adopt many technological improvements to prepare for an impending Medicaid expansion under the reform law. The law requires that states by 2014 cover individuals with annual incomes of up to 133% of the federal poverty level ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.