CHIP program funding extended until March

CHIP program funding extended until March

(KWES) - Texas children under the CHIP program are safe for at least two more months.

The Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP for short, has been providing health coverage to children and pregnant moms since 1997. The program provides health insurance for children with families that make too much to qualify for Medicaid. But that may soon come to an end, if there's not enough money to provide funding.

Over 400,000 children in Texas are covered under CHIP, but now some states might have to stop enrollment and notify parents that the program may soon come to an end because of funding issues.

Congress didn't renew funding for the program which caused CHIP to expire in September, but, there is about 248-million dollars Texas is receiving. That's enough to keep money CHIP running until March 31st.

Without those extra funds, CHIP probably would've ended this month.

Under the program, the uninsured rate among children in the US dropped from 15% in 1997, to 5% in 2015. But if the program is done away with, 450,000 Texas families will have to find another means of health insurance.

State officials said if the program isn't reauthorized, then Texas will have to redistribute funds.

Right now, there's no long-term solution to continue funding the program, but lawmakers are working on a bill to extend the program for five more years, which is a potential solution, for now.

Extending the program for five more years costs about $800 million dollars. The bill passed in the House, now it's the waiting game on the Senate.

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