Children's Health Insurance Program in ND OK for now

Oct 3, 2017

The authorization – and funding – for the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program have run out, effective October first.

Congress has not yet acted to reauthorize and fund it.

The program – called “Healthy Steps” in North Dakota -- is available for children who are in households that may not qualify for Medicaid, but where the family can’t afford to buy health insurance.

Some states have now stopped accepting applications for the program. Others have said they will soon run out of money for it. But, in North Dakota, the situation is different.

""CHIP is considered an allotment," said Maggie Anderson, the medical services director for the North Dakota dept. of Human Services. "Each year, when we receive a certain amount of federal funds, if we haven't spent all of those dollars, we're able to carry the dollars forward to the next year."

Anderson said the state has not yet spent its allotment.

"Right now, we are not estimating to run out of carryover funds until May, 2018," Anderson said. "At this time, there are no enrollment caps. We have not stopped any enrollment into the program."

Anderson said she believes Congress will re-authorize the program.

North Dakota has been averaging 2259 children per month on Healthy Steps.