Using CHIP and the ACA to Better Serve Children Now and in the Future
States have made great strides in providing children in families with low-to-moderate income appropriate and affordable health coverage over the past two decades through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created new coverage options for other populations, including parents who were previously uninsured. However, the ACA also includes provisions that support children’s coverage through exchanges and the Essential Health Benefit (EHB). Because federal funding for CHIP is not guaranteed beyond 2017, state officials are considering how to apply lessons learned from this critical program and use them to develop contingency plans to ensure strong children’s coverage into the future.
The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), with support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, convened a stakeholder group of health policy experts that included national advocates and state officials representing Medicaid, CHIP and health insurance exchanges to explore the policy options states may have to maintain children’s coverage. This paper provides an overview of children’s current coverage options and summarizes the themes from the stakeholder group’s discussions that identified potential options for ensuring strong children’s coverage into the future.