Today, Arizona “officially” joined the rest of the country as CMS approved its plan to re-open its CHIP plan. As Say Ahhh! readers know, new enrollment in Arizona’s CHIP plan (KidsCare) was frozen for several years. Now children living in all 50 states and DC will have the opportunity to sign up for CHIP coverage.
Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCS) estimates that 30,000 to 40,000 more children will become eligible for CHIP coverage as a result of this action. Arizona will start accepting new applications for KidCare tomorrow for coverage that will begin September 1st.
Arizona children’s advocates attribute the successful reinstatement of KidsCare to a very broad coalition of engaged partners and a strong financial incentive included in the Affordable Care Act that essentially offered Arizona 100% federal funding for CHIP. As Joe Fu, formerly of Arizona Advocates for Children, explained on Say Ahhh! earlier this year, the so-called “CHIP bump” was crucial to this successful effort to re-open KidCare. He wrote: “This cannot be overstated since restoration of KidsCare was tied to language in state statute that directs the state Medicaid agency to freeze enrollment if the state incurs any cost to the state budget.”