Number of children covered by SCHIP is up
SCHIP stands for State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Last year’s figures indicate that enrollment was up by 4% equivalent to an additional 7.4 million American children enrolled for 2008, according to this U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) update.
SCHIP is a state and federal insurance program created in 1997 to help provide health care to uninsured American children with funds available for 10 years. This was extended by the SCHIP Extension Act of 2007.
Children covered by SCHIP are those living with families whose income are about 200% of the federal poverty level ($42,000 for a family of four in 2008). In many states, this income cut-off is too high to qualify for Medicaid, yet these families cannot afford or qualify for private coverage. The increase in SCHIP enrollment in 2008 might be related to the currently ongoing economic crisis and the increase in unemployment.
The current funding SCHIP ends in March 2009. On January 14, members of the US Senate and the US Congress have already approved the new reauthorization but some reconciliation is needed before it can be passed on to the White House.
For millions of American children, SCHIP may be their only means of survival in the tough economic times ahead.