Stabilize Coverage in Medicaid and CHIP

Medicaid and CHIP are a lifeline for many low-income Americans, providing health care coverage when they need it most. However, enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP – unlike in private insurance and Medicare – is like a sieve; every year millions of people enroll only to subsequently lose their coverage only to subsequently lose coverage due to lost paperwork, incorrect phone numbers, or minor and temporary changes in income. These interruptions in coverage, known as eligibility “churn,” undermine coverage and hurt the continuity and effectiveness of the care these Americans receive.

The Stabilize Medicaid and CHIP Coverage Act was introduced in both the House and Senate in early 2021. Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and John Katko (R-NY) introduced the bipartisan bill, H.R. 1738. Senator Sherrod Brown introduced S. 646 with original cosponsors Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). When passed, these bills will provide 12-month continuous eligibility for all Medicaid and CHIP enrollees.

Urge your Members of Congress (you can find out who represents you here) to cosponsor H.R.1738 or S. 646, the Stabilize Medicaid and CHIP Coverage Act of 2021.

If you represent a health care plan, provider, or other organizations and would like to add your organization to a list of supporters, contact Jennifer McGuigan Babcock at ACAP.

How Unstable Is Coverage in Medicaid and CHIP?

Currently, the average Medicaid enrollee is on the program less than 10 months per year – see how your state compares. Many enrollees leave the Medicaid program due to eligibility “churn,” which happens when people are disenrolled and reenrolled in the program because of bureaucratic and paperwork problems or due to slight and temporary increases in income.

The Stabilize Medicaid and CHIP Coverage Act will reduce the number of low-income Americans who lack health insurance coverage and improve the stability, continuity, and quality of care they receive. It will ensure more efficient and cost-effective coverage, both from the perspective of medical and administrative expenses.

For more information about how unstable coverage affects the millions of Americans who rely on Medicaid and CHIP, review the churn FAQs.