Over the past year, as the nation’s attention was focused on the country’s economic problems and the debate over the passage of broader health care reform, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) continued to play their vital role of providing coverage to millions of people who otherwise lack affordable coverage options. In 2010, this role was more pronounced than ever as families lost their jobs and access to employer-based coverage and turned to public programs in increasing numbers.

Families could turn to Medicaid and CHIP because in 2010, nearly all states “held steady.” This annual 50-state survey of Medicaid and CHIP eligibility rules, enrollment and renewal procedures and cost sharing practices found that 49 states, including DC, held steady or made targeted improvements in their Medicaid and CHIP eligibility rules and enrollment procedures. In addition, a total of 13 states expanded eligibility, largely for children, and 14 states made improvements in enrollment and renewal processes to reduce burdens on families and streamline administrative processes.