Medicaid officials say they expect Congress to reauthorize CHIP funding

12/13/2017 05:58 PM

FRANKFORT — Officials in Kentucky’s Department for Medicaid Services have weathered a loss of federal funds for a program meant to provide health insurance for children in low-income families, and they told lawmakers on Wednesday that they expect Congress to refinance the program.

Stephen Miller, the department’s commissioner, told the Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Committee that the state has enough money for the Children’s Health Insurance Program in the short-term.

Federal funding was not renewed by the start of the federal fiscal year on Oct. 1, and Miller said that could mean nearly $150 million more in the next budget cycle if the state is forced to keep up the program, which provides insurance for children in low-income families that earn too much to receive Medicaid benefits, without federal support.

“We’re in better shape than most states,” Miller said. “We had a surplus of the grant that covers CHIP left over from the previous year. We had expected and still expect for that to continue through about the end of February.

“There had been some allocation being done and a redistribution methodology from the federal government that they’re pulling back some of my, our excess and then going to give us more dollars. The timing of all that is not known exactly when that will take place, but it looks like through that redistribution we’ll pick up a few extra dollars over what we had, so at least we have coverage through somewhere around the 10th or so of March.”

Miller said congressional lawmakers in both parties have said they want to pass funding for CHIP, but no vote has been scheduled yet.

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