More than 75,000 children and pregnant women could lose their health care early next year.
In late November, the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing sent informational letters to Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) members advising them to start researching private health insurance options. Federal funding, which pays for 88 percent of the program, ended on September 30, 2017. Colorado only has sufficient funds to continue operations through January 31, 2018.
The purpose of the letter was to urge CHP+ members to be prepared in the event the federal government fails to reinstate funding.
“We remain cautiously optimistic Congress will renew federal funding,” said Gretchen Hammer, the department’s Medicaid director. “But we want our families enrolled in CHP+ to be aware that changes may be coming and not be caught off guard should the program come to an end.”
The department is working closely with Connect for Health Colorado. If CHP+ coverage ends, there will be a special enrollment program through the marketplace. Some individuals could qualify for financial assistance to purchase a health plan offered through Connect for Health Colorado.
Marc Williams, the department’s public information officer, said families should talk to their health care providers during the research process to ensure continuity of coverage.
“So they’re not faced with selecting a plan their provider doesn’t accept and now they have to go find a different doctor or dentist that does accept their new health insurance plan,” he said.
The CHP+ program provides low-cost health insurance for those who can’t afford private insurance but make too much to qualify for Colorado’s Medicaid program. The state will send out cancellation notices in late December if Congress does not approve funding in the next couple of weeks.