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Health

CHIP Expansion Takes Effect in January

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Kansas City, MO – Beginning in January, more kids will be able to get state health insurance in Kansas.

Specifically, children up to 250% of the 2008 federal poverty level will be eligible for the Children's Health Insurance Program, otherwise known as CHIP.

The Kansas legislature authorized the expansion of CHIP in 2008, but didn't fund it at that time. After Congress reauthorized CHIP and guaranteed new federal funding for the program last year, Kansas lawmakers approved the some million dollars in state funding to enact the expansion.

Peter Hancock is with the Kansas Health Policy Authority, which oversees CHIP. He says about 4,000 additional children will get health coverage this year because of the expansion.

"This is a very good thing for families in Kansas, particularly low-income, moderate income working families - especially if your child has any kind of ongoing health care needs like asthma or diabetes," Hancock said.

The change means a family of three earning up to $44,000 a year is now eligible for CHIP. Previously, eligibility was capped at about $35,000 a year, or 200% of the federal poverty level.

CHIP is a joint federal-state program that provides health coverage to uninsured children whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. Nearly 40,000 Kansas children are currently enrolled in the program.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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