Thousands of Children in Virginia Could Lose Health Insurance by January

Oct 3, 2017

The federal CHIP program funds health care for almost 9 million children nationwide.
Credit Terry Vine / Blend Images / Getty Images

65,000 low income children in Virginia could get cut off from their healthcare if Congress doesn’t act soon. The state is already preparing to send out termination notices for coverage.

 

In Virginia, children in poor families have access to everything from doctor’s visits and immunizations, to diabetes and cancer treatment. It’s through a program called FAMIS -- Family Access to Medical Insurance Security.

This weekend, Congress let funding for the program lapse. They pay for almost 90% of it. To make up the shortfall for this year and next combined, Virginia would have to scrape up almost 190 million dollars.

“That’s a huge financial hit to Virginia. There are budget restraints, and there are other competing budget priorities,” said Ashley Everette, policy analyst with Voices for Virginia’s Children. “It’s very likely that there will be a huge number of children and pregnant women who will not have health insurance.”

That’s if Congress doesn’t act immediately.  Committees in the House and Senate haven’t given up yet. They’re expected to release a possible funding bill this week.

 

Related: Lapse in Federal Funding Imperils Children's Health Coverage

Virginia’s Department of Medical Services says it has funding to last only through January. But if the program is ending, they’ll have to get started soon on preparing termination notices and training staff.

Termination letters would be sent to families December 1st, and health coverage would likely end by the end of January.

 

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.