States Advance In Extending Health Insurance To Poor Kids

States Advance In Extending Health Insurance To Poor Kids

The Clinton administration announced Tuesday that 47 states have enrolled almost two million children in their Children's Health Insurance Programs. Between December 1998 and October 1999, the states doubled enrollment in CHIP, according to the Health Care Financing Administration.

Congress created CHIP in 1997. The program provides states with $24 billion over five years to insure children whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to qualify for private medical insurance.

The Census Bureau estimates 11 million children lack health insurance, and more than 7 million are eligible for either CHIP or Medicaid. To see the enrollment figures for all 50 states, see the HCFA report. Three of the five states showing the highest of children in CHIP, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania, had created their own health insurance programs for children before 1997. But California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas have enrolled at least 50,000 children in new programs.

The White House also announced Tuesday that it will ask Congress for an additional $2.7 billion to enroll children in either Medicaid or CHIP. The proposal would allow states to cover 19 and 20-year olds under their CHIP and Medicaid plans, enlist schools in the enrollment effort, allow more families to receive benefits before their applications are fully processed and require states to simplify Medicaid application procedures.

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