SCHIP Provided Health Insurance to 7.4 Million Children in 2008
Some 7.4 million children were enrolled in the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 2008 - a four percent increase over the previous year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced today. The announcement comes as Congress is debating reauthorization of SCHIP, which is projected to expand coverage to an additional four million children.
"With unemployment numbers rising and the economy struggling to regain momentum, more and more American families are relying on SCHIP to insure their children get the health coverage they need," said Acting HHS Secretary Charles Johnson. "It is no surprise that SCHIP enrollment went up in 2008 and we expect this trend to continue well into 2009 if the program is reauthorized."
Created in 1997, SCHIP is a state and federal partnership designed to help uninsured children. SCHIP received $40 billion in federal funds over 10 years through 2007. The Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 extended the program until March 31, 2009, with an appropriation of $5 billion for each of fiscal years 2008 and 2009, with fiscal year 2009 funding available only through March 31, 2009. The legislation also provided $1.6 billion in funding for states with SCHIP budget shortfalls for fiscal year 2008 and $275 million for state shortfalls through the first two quarters of fiscal year 2009.
Enrollment data, compiled by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and based on state reports, show that 7.4 million children were enrolled in SCHIP at some point during federal fiscal year (FFY) 2008, compared to 7.1 million for fiscal 2007. During FFY 2008, 334,616 adults were covered with SCHIP funds.
"While more children are relying on the program, we know millions more children need health care coverage and that is why we need a strong SCHIP to meet the nation's growing need," said Acting Secretary Johnson. "President Obama believes that healthy children are the key to a healthy economy and a healthy future for our country. We look forward to working closely with Congress to reauthorize SCHIP and to working with the States to do every thing we can to enroll every eligible child in the program."
The SCHIP targets uninsured children who live in families with incomes generally around 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($42,000 for a family of four in 2008), which is too high in most states to qualify for Medicaid, but in many cases, too low to afford private coverage.
SCHIP enrollment numbers by state are available at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/NationalSCHIPPolicy/SCHIPER/.