CHIP Law Could Expand Coverage to 400,000 Documented Immigrant Children
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examined the provision in the CHIP reauthorization and expansion legislation President Obama signed into law this month that allows states to use federal money to provide health insurance to documented immigrant children and pregnant women who have been in the country less than five years (Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2/14).
The law (HR 2) requires states to verify that CHIP beneficiaries are documented immigrants or citizens, but it allows states to try to verify eligibility by matching an applicant's name and Social Security number against federal records, rather than requiring documents proving citizenship (Kaiser Health Disparities Report, 2/5).
Leighton Ku, a professor at George Washington University School of Public Health & Health Services, estimated that there are 400,000 low-income, documented immigrant children who will now qualify for the program. Some of those children are already covered under an employer-based plan or state-funded health program, according to the Journal Sentinel. Low-income immigrant children are twice as likely to be uninsured as other children.
In Wisconsin, based on a rough estimate, 3,700 to 5,500 children are documented immigrants who would be eligible for coverage, Ku said. The federal government will pay roughly 72% of the cost of insuring the children (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2/14).