Children’s Health Insurance Program
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides federal funds to help fund health insurance coverage for uninsured children living in low-income households.
Some lawmakers would like to expand the program to children in higher-income households and adults. NAIFA Health & Employee Benefits believes even with the noblest intentions this will dramatically expand an entitlement program that was created to provide a safety net to the true poor. It will also cause many individuals to transition out of private coverage creating a situation where a large portion of increased spending on public health streams to those who do not need it and the ranks of the uninsured shrink by less than expected.
According to a CBO analysis of Census data, recent Congressional proposals to expand CHIP eligibility would reach children in income groups in which 89 percent or more of children currently have private coverage.
NAIFA Health & Employee Benefits supports initiatives to improve enrollment of the 6 million children who are eligible for, but not enrolled in, the Children's Health Insurance (CHIP) and Medicaid programs. States should be given the flexibility to enroll eligible low income uninsured children into CHIP or Medicaid when they qualify for other means-tested programs (such as free or reduced-price lunches; food stamps; or the Women, Infants, and Children program). Eligible employees should be allowed to pay their share of the CHIP premium through the employer’s Section 125 plan. Likewise professional, licensed and regulated agents should be allowed to enroll eligible children in CHIP when enrolling their parent(s) in an employer sponsored plan.