Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program – known as CHIP, is about to run out and Congress has not renewed funding for it. The kicker is that funding for CHIP has been approved, but is wrapped up in a House spending bill that is unlikely to pass the Senate.
CHIP provides health insurance for nearly nine million children nationwide whose parents earn too much for Medicaid, but not enough for other forms of coverage. If Congress does not pass a bill extending funding for CHIP, West Virginia CHIP will close enrollment on February 28th. Experts do not expect the House bill, which was introduced last night, to pass, though, because it proposes pulling money from Democrat-backed programs.
A WV Department of Health and Human Resources spokeswoman Allison Adler said “we have been working with the end of December as our timeframe for passage of a funding bill.”
She said if Congress doesn’t pass a bill, the CHIP program plans to send notifications to families and providers by early January. Services and benefits will continue as normal for members through the end of February.
In Appalachia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania will run out of money by the end of January. Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina are all expected to lose coverage by the end of Mach.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.