SCHIP increases enrollment, coverage, says CMS report

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a report on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) showing increased program enrollment, coverage and access to healthcare among low-income and uninsured children.

The report, “National Evaluation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program: A Decade of Expanding Coverage and Improving Access” examined four areas: progress toward reducing the number of uninsured low-income children; access to healthcare; outreach, enrollment, and retention; and lessons from the field.

The report found the majority of SCHIP-eligible children dropping private coverage or declining to take up private coverage at levels up to 56 percent.  Since the completion of the study, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the rate of substitution under SCHIP and Medicaid to be approximately 33 percent.
The report findings included:
•    Reducing uninsured, low-income children: SCHIP contributed to improvements in children’s health insurance coverage; without SCHIP, the number and rate of uninsured children would have risen substantially, rather than fallen. 
•    Access to healthcare in SCHIP: Access to care has improved for children enrolled in SCHIP, although some gaps remain, and access varies among states.
•    Outreach, enrollment, and retention in SCHIP: Retention exceeds 75 percent in most states, similar to the individual market and traditional Medicaid.
•    Lessons from the field: States tailored their SCHIP programs to their particular context, resources, and needs.

Congress is currently considering the reauthorization of the SCHIP legislation.