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All Kids Deserve a Healthy Start, and Many Get it With CHIP

For decades, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or Child Health Plan Plus (CHP +) in Colorado, has provided a viable path to ensuring that children in thousands of working families have access to quality affordable health care. The program serves families that make too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to afford health care in the private market. With CHIP, these families are able to purchase health insurance for their children with one low annual fee and co-pays that are based on a sliding scale.

Simply switching to private insurance isn’t a solution for these families. For example, the maximum annual enrollment fee for a family on CHIP is $75 or about $6.25 per month. The cheapest catastrophic health plan in Denver for a child is $103 monthly — a 1,500 percent increase. That increase climbs to at least $144 a month — a 2,200 percent jump — if you live in rural Chaffee County.

Colorado has worked to ensure that the provider network for the program is pediatric focused, which puts kids’ health first and provides lower cost-sharing options than in private plans. The program includes important benefits, including dental, that aren’t often found in other plans. This attention to a pediatric-focused benefits package is particularly important to kids with chronic issues who often require specialty care.

CHIP has been an integral part of Colorado’s efforts to get kids covered, as well as national coverage gains, since its inception. A loss of the program would wipe out much of this progress Colorado and other states have achieved. CHIP, partnered with Medicaid, has given Colorado the two-pronged approach it needed to help increase coverage for kids, driving the percent of uninsured Colorado kids to an all-time low of only 2.5 percent.