BOISE, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) -
More than 7,200 Idaho children lost health insurance coverage between 2017 to 2018, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.
The Center said Idaho saw the steepest child enrollment decline in CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) and Medicaid in the nation, dropping 11% between December 2017 and February 2019. Private coverage rates, meanwhile, remained steady. The Center said the decline in public coverage indicates enrollment declines are driving up Idaho's rate of uninsured kids. You can see the full report here.
"The drop in insured children in Idaho is extremely troubling, and we believe largely due to changes in the enrollment and renewal processes in Idaho's CHIP and Medicaid programs that have put new barriers in place for children and families. These have occurred as a result of new direction from the federal government," explained Liz Woodruff, assistant director of Idaho Voices for Children. "Low income families are now required to submit more paperwork and overcome additional red tape to access or keep health coverage for their children." Woodruff continued.
Idaho Hispanic/Latino children face an 8% uninsured rate. White kids are at an uninsured rate of 5.9%.
The Idaho Voices for Children report makes several policy recommendations to further mitigate declines in kids' coverage including: cutting paperwork requirements at renewals for families with children with disabilities on Katie Beckett Medicaid; improving rules governing the renewal process for Idaho families, including more advanced notification and better outreach; and increasing income eligibility thresholds for both pregnant women and children. Currently, Idaho's income eligibility thresholds in both these categories are far below national averages.