Federal funding for CHIP, known as KidsCare in our state, ran out on September 30th. Since then, Arizona has been using money left over from the prior federal fiscal year to keep the program going. But that money is running out.
According to the Arizona Daily Sun, “The plan now is to use other cash Arizona gets from the federal government (for its separate traditional Medicaid plan) to pay the premiums for youngsters in the KidsCare program.” Heidi Capriotti, spokeswoman for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, said that will mean no interruption in care.
But Capriotti warned this is, at best, a short-term solution. She said there are only enough dollars in that Medicaid account to keep the KidsCare premiums paid through the first quarter of 2018.
And after that? Capriotti said if Congress does not come through by that point, it will be up to lawmakers to decide whether to find the dollars elsewhere — KidsCare is budgeted at more than $9.3 million a month — or simply kill the program and leave the children without health coverage.
KJZZ quoted Ms. Capriotti as saying she expects Congress to re-authorize CHIP sometime after the new year. Because of that, she says the state is not sending notices to enrolled families to let them know about potential changes to the program, but that’s not the case everywhere.
As of December 6, 2017, at least three states had begun informing families about potential changes. Colorado sent a warning to families about potential coverage losses and Utah and Oklahoma had posted notices on their websites warning of potential coverage reductions.
We’d love to hear what you think about the future of KidsCare in our state. Do you believe congress will reauthorize funding for the program or will more than 23,000 Arizona children lose their health insurance? Generating meaningful dialogue around the health issues affecting the people of our state is another way we are working toward our longterm goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!