If a child’s parent or guardian has a change in circumstances that affects eligibility for public health insurance, does the child lose coverage?
In Colorado, the answer – as of Tuesday - is no.
Colorado has joined 23 other states in offering continuous coverage for children enrolled in Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), regardless of any changes in their circumstances, over a 12-month period.
The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide 12 months of continuous health care coverage to children enrolled in Medicaid or CHP+ beginning March 1. The Colorado Health Care Affordability Act - signed into law in 2009 - is financing the coverage.
This means that children enrolled in these public insurance programs, as well as those who newly qualify, will remain covered for 12 months regardless of any changes in their family’s income or household size. This new policy will impact an estimated 535,000 Colorado children.
The policy is one strategy to address the number of children who churn from one insurance status or type to another over the course of a year. Data from the 2013 Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS) show that 13.2 percent of children churned at some point in the 12 months prior to the survey. With this new provision of continuous coverage, we expect that fewer children will experience changes in their health insurance coverage. The hope is that continuous coverage will translate to better continuity of care.
For more on churn, watch for the first of a series of Survey Snapshots later this month - concise analyses based on data from the CHAS.