Update: What’s Happening with CHIP?
The Sept. 30, 2017, deadline has come and gone and Congress has not yet extended federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), but for now, the estimated 9 million children enrolled in the program remain covered. This is possible because CHIP, a block grant-funded program, provided annual allotments to states and a portion of states’ unspent 2017 fiscal year allotment can be used to continue to support the program. This is a short-term solution because these funds are limited. Without Congressional action to provide additional funding, the federal government predicts a national CHIP shortfall of $13 billion in fiscal year 2018. There remains approximately $3 billion in unspent CHIP dollars from previous years that will be redistributed proportionately to states as their CHIP funds run out, but it is not clear exactly how much each state will receive. Federal estimates suggest on average each state will be able to fund one or two more months of CHIP, but this projection doesn’t take into consideration unanticipated costs, such as increased enrollment or high utilization. State officials do not want to dis-enroll children from CHIP, but their budgets cannot absorb the nation’s $10 billion shortfall. Congress must act soon as some states are expected to exhaust their CHIP funds as early as November. NASHP will continue to track states’ efforts to maintain this successful program during this uncertain time. Read more to understand how states are planning.