MassHealth and the Importance of Continued Federal Funding for CHIP

April 10, 2015

If Congress does not extend federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Massachusetts would incur an additional cost of $166 million in fiscal year 2016 to continue insurance coverage for 130,000 children currently enrolled in the program, according to a report authored by a health policy expert from UMass Medical School and released April 7 by the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.

The report, MassHealth and the Importance of Continued Federal Funding for CHIP, was written by Robert Seifert, MPA, a principal in the Center for Health Law and Economics, a unit within UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division. Federal funding for CHIP will run out in September unless Congress passes legislation to continue the program. The U.S. House of Representatives passed CHIP funding legislation in March and the Senate is expected to take up the bill later this month.

In Massachusetts, CHIP covers a large number of children enrolled in MassHealth, most of which falls under the authority of the Medicaid program. If the federal funding ends and Massachusetts wants to continue providing health insurance to those children, it would cost the state $166.3 million the first year, fiscal 2016. Fiscal pressure could also lead the state to change eligibility requirements that would eliminate coverage for at least 7,000 and as many as 65,000 children.

The Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute (MMPI)—a program of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mas­sachusetts Foundation—is an independent and nonpartisan source of information and analysis about MassHealth. MMPI’s mission is to promote the development of effective Medicaid policy solutions through research and policy analysis.