Kaiser Family Foundation Releases Issue Brief on Aligning Eligibility for Children Under the Affordable Care Act

On August 15, 2013 the Kaiser Family Foundation released an Issue Brief regarding the “stairstep” eligibility rules for children covered by Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The “stairstep” eligibility refers to current requirements that all states minimally cover children under the age of six in families with income of up to at least 133 percent of the  federal poverty level (FPL) in Medicaid, while older children and teens with incomes above 100 percent of the FPL may be covered in separate state Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP). This has resulted in split sources of coverage for children.

When the ACA was enacted, 21 states needed to transition some children from CHIP to Medicaid under these rules.  While some states are transitioning some children, California is already in the process of transitioning all  CHIP children to Medicaid, thereby eliminating its “stairstep kids” (California’s CHIP program is called Healthy Families; the Medicaid program is Medi-Cal).  This transition creates an alignment of services preventing children in the same family facing different benefits, provider networks, cost-sharing, and enrollment and renewal procedures.  In eliminating the separate state CHIP program entirely, California will move approximately 860,000 children from the Healthy Families program to Medi-Cal by the end of 2013.

Read the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Issue Brief Aligning Eligibilty for Chilren: Moving the Stairstep Kids to Medicaid…