Enrolling adults in the State Childrens Health Insurance Program can get expensive, the Government Accountability Office concluded in a report released today.
The study, requested by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Finance Committee, reviewed 10 states that covered adults in SCHIP as of 2007. Specifically, the GAO found that four of the statesMinnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wisconsinthat implemented adult coverage at an earlier date, around 2001, were more likely than states that implemented it later to consistently spend their entire (SCHIP) allotments.
Overall, the 343,000 adults covered in the 10 states represented about 40% of the total number of individuals covered through SCHIP. In nine of the states, adults accounted for about 54% of total SCHIP expenditures.
The findings also revealed that per capita expenditures for parents were on average 82% higher than those for children in five of the six states that offered direct coverage to parents.
This report provides valuable insight into the issue of adult coverage through SCHIP. I hope it will inform members thinking as we renew our reauthorization debate, Grassley said in a written statement.
The CMS in its response to the findings said the report mischaracterized coverage of unborn children in SCHIP as coverage for adults, which inflated adult enrollment and expenditures for states that cover unborn children. The GAO countered that assessment was incorrect, stating, the report characterized coverage of unborn children as coverage for pregnant women, not as coverage for adults. -- by Jennifer Lubell