Children’s Health Insurance Program | KUER 90.1

Children’s Health Insurance Program

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In Utah approximately 19,500 kids are on the Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP. It provides coverage for uninsured kids in low-to-middle-income households. But so far, the reauthorization of that program has stalled in Congress. 

Screenshot / U.S. Senate

Funding for the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, expired last week. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch helped create the program for low-income children in the 1990s.

Utah has been awarded 5.4 million dollars from the federal government for its efforts to get more children covered by health insurance. The performance bonus comes from the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009. For the second year in a row, Utah is one of 23 states to receive it. But some advocacy groups say there are still too many uninsured Utah children.

Utah Department of Workforce Services call center
Dan Bammes / KUER

A state audit released this week shows that the Utah Department of Workforce Services has cut down on errors enrolling people for benefits and training, and is doing a much better job complying with federal regulations. A previous state audit of the Department showed a consistent pattern of non-compliance, resulting in millions of dollars in questioned costs. 

The Utah Department of Health released new data Wednesday estimating that more than 13 percent of the population went without health insurance last year.  That’s about 3 percentage points higher than the previous year, but health officials say the increase is at least partly due to improved survey methods. 

UDOH spokesperson Tom Hudachko says you can’t make a fair comparison between numbers in 2010 and 2011 because state survey methods were changed significantly.  For example, pollsters are now calling cellphones instead of just land lines.