A new policy brief prepared by the Urban Institute for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found there are still 4 million kids under 18 without health insurance who are eligible for CHIP. Another 1.8 million uninsured kids live in families whose earnings are far enough above the poverty line to be ineligible for the programs, which are run by the states
The good news is that the total number of poor kids without coverage dropped by 800,000 since 2008. The program was expanded in 2009.
Still, the CHIP/Medicaid expansion could be a cautionary tale for anyone expecting a surge of enrollment during the rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's insurance expansion. Despite offering what is essentially a free benefit for poor kids, parents of only one-sixth of the eligibles applied for the program.
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