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Important Message About the District’s CHIP Program

On October 16, 2017, Mayors from 31 of the nation’s most influential cities joined Mayor Bowser to urge Congress to pass legislation that would extend CHIP funding for the District and 50 states. The Mayor's letter to Congress on the need for the Reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The District's CHIP program is administered by the DC Department of Health Care Finance and provides health coverage for approximately 13,000 children in the District.  CHIP was enacted 20 years ago and since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, has been funded with 100% federal dollars.  This year, Congress failed to authorize CHIP funding for Fiscal Year 18 (FY18).  Until authorization occurs, no state--including the District--will receive new annual allotments for CHIP.   

You may have questions about how this lack of funding affects the District's CHIP program and its beneficiaries.  The following FAQ'S should provide you with more context.  

Will the District's CHIP program eligibility or coverage change? 
No.  Because the District has a Medicaid-expansion CHIP program, DHCF can continue CHIP regardless of whether CHIP is funded.  Current law requires the District to maintain current eligibility standards—so children from families with incomes of up to 319% of the federal poverty level (FPL) will remain eligible for CHIP, and children now enrolled in CHIP will convert to Medicaid when CHIP allotments run out.  Additionally, Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries are served by the same Managed Care Organizations in the District, so there is no anticipated change in plan or effect on coverage for CHIP beneficiaries. 

How will the District fund the CHIP program without federal funding? 
The District plans to spend remaining FY17 allotments and FY16 funds that the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) will be re-distributing to all states and DC.  If Congress has failed to extend funding by January 2018, the District will face an estimated $9.8 million dollar local need for the remainder of FY18—and up to approximately $14 million in FY19.     

What are the current legislative proposals to extend CHIP?   
As of October 17, 2017, the Senate and House are both considering CHIP funding extension packages.  The substance of the proposed CHIP extension bills are nearly identical:  Both extend CHIP for a period of five years.  Funding levels  ensure that the District receives 100% federal funding for FY18 and FY19, then they are reduced gradually to 79% (DC CHIP’s original enhanced match) by FY21.  Both bills also extend current laws (called maintenance of effort) that require the District to maintain current eligibility levels, but allow all CHIP states to reduce eligibility to 300% FPL in FY20.   

DHCF will continue to closely monitor Congressional action and its effect on the District’s CHIP program. Contact: 

  • Media inquiries about the District’s CHIP program should be referred to Dorinda White, DHCF’s Public Information Officer at [email protected].
  • Individuals with questions about CHIP eligibility or benefits can email  [email protected].  
  • Individuals with general Medicaid eligibility questions can call the ESA Service Center at (202) 727-5356.