State Faces Increased Costs For Children’s Health Insurance Program

WLRN Public Radio and Television

By: Julio Ochoa

A federal law providing 10 more years of funding for the national Children’s Health Insurance Program should help Florida continue to reduce its rate of uninsured kids. But the state’s taxpayers will have to pay millions more for the program starting in 2020. The program, known as CHIP, provides health insurance to 345,000 children in Florida. It’s helped the state reduce its uninsured among children to 6.2 percent in 2016, compared to nearly 15 percent in 2009.

When that happens, the state will have to cover the portion of the match that the federal government is no longer funding. In Florida it’s estimated to be about $75 million in 2020 and $150 million in the years following, said Joan Alker, director of Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families and the author of a report on how the new law will impact Florida. The law says that the state cannot reduce income eligibility levels for children in Medicaid and CHIP for the next 10 years, nor can it raise their premiums.

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