Children's Health Insurance: Opportunities Exist for Improved Access to Affordable Insurance

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office, GAO-12-648, June 22, 2012

From the summary:
GAO estimates that under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), about three-quarters of approximately 7 million children who were uninsured in January 2009 would be eligible for Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or the new premium tax credit. The remaining children had family incomes too high to be eligible, were noncitizens, or would be ineligible for the premium tax credit because they would be considered to have access to affordable employer-sponsored insurance per the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) proposed affordability standard, in which IRS interpreted PPACA as defining affordability for an employee’s eligible family members based on the cost of an employee-only plan. Some commenters raised concerns that IRS’s interpretation was inconsistent with PPACA’s goal of increasing access to affordable health insurance as it does not consider the higher cost of family insurance and could result in some children remaining uninsured. Under PPACA, CHIP is not funded beyond 2015, and states may opt to reduce CHIP eligibility or eliminate programs in fiscal year 2020. Without CHIP, more children could become uninsured. In May 2012, IRS finalized its rule but deferred finalizing the proposed affordability standard.

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