The Arizona KidsCare CHIP Enrollment Freeze: How Has it Impacted Enrollment and Families?

On December 21, 2009, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona imposed an enrollment freeze in the state’s CHIP program, KidsCare. It is currently the only state in the country with a freeze in place. As of July 15, 2011, there were over 108,000 children on the waiting list for KidsCare coverage, which continues to grow at a rate of about 10,000 children per month. Since the freeze, enrollment in KidsCare has fallen by more than 60 percent from 46,886 in December 2009 to 17,642 in July 2011, although a substantial share of these kids were able to secure coverage through Medicaid. Arizona estimated savings of $12.9 million in state funds in FY 2011 and is expected to forego $41 million in federal matching funds. The experience in Arizona highlights the importance of CHIP as a bridge between Medicaid and private coverage for a broad range of families. The following issue-brief provides an overview of how Arizona has implemented the CHIP enrollment freeze and its impact on children and families.


Cathy Hope
Cathy Hope is the Communications Director at the Center for Children and Families