The Latest on Child Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment During the Pandemic

CCF’s Aubrianna Osorio and Allie Corcoran are keeping tabs on child enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP during the pandemic period. Below is the latest – from February 2020 to January 2022 child enrollment has increased by 14.4 percent nationwide.

A few things jumped out at me:

  • As is common, we are probably seeing “welcome mat” effects of Medicaid expansion in Missouri and Oklahoma, the two states that started enrolling parents and other adults during this time period. This comes as no surprise – when coverage is extended to parents children are often enrolled at the same time – despite having already been eligible.
  • States with the largest increases in child Medicaid enrollment are generally states that had higher child uninsured rates prior to the pandemic. This suggests that the continuous Medicaid coverage requirement is making an even bigger difference in protecting families from coverage loss during the pandemic in these states. We await Census Bureau ACS data in the fall to dive into this question! This also underscores how much is at stake for families when the continuous coverage provision ends and the continuous coverage protections go away.
  • CHIP enrollment continues to remain constant or decline slightly in some states while Medicaid enrollment for children has uniformly gone up. The continuous coverage provisions only apply to CHIP programs that are Medicaid expansions.

Joan Alker is the Executive Director of the Center for Children and Families and a Research Professor at the Georgetown McCourt School of Public Policy.