CMS Issues Long-Awaited CHIPRA Guidance – Say Ahhh! A Children’s Health Policy Blog

Yesterday, CMS issued two additional guidance letters related to implementation of the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009. The first of these letters is on new federal support for covering for lawfully residing children and pregnant women who have been in the country less than five years. This long-awaited guidance explains that there is new federal support for states that have previously covered these populations using state-only funds and offers a new opportunity to expand to states that do not cover these populations due to the lack of federal  support for doing so.

Prior to CHIPRA, close to 20 states used state-only dollars to cover these children and/or pregnant women. Now, these states can receive federal matching funds for this coverage — freeing up state funds during a time when state budgets are tight. It is important to note that since CHIPRA was enacted and this new opportunity for federal support, another six states have taken up the new option to cover this population, resulting in almost half of the states offering coverage to lawfully residing children and pregnant women.

The second guidance letter issued by CMS is about a provision in CHIPRA that gives states the opportunity to receive enhanced federal support to better serve Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries for whom English is not their primary language.

There is much more to say on both of these topics, but not enough time before the long holiday weekend to do them justice, so please check back on our website next week.

Happy Fourth of July!

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