Children's Health Insurance - E-News from Rhode Island KIDS COUNT
February 13, 2009
Analysis of Rhode Island's FY 2009 Supplemental Budget Proposal

State flagThe Governor's proposed Supplemental Budget for State Fiscal Year 2009 contains implications for children and families enrolled in RIte Care. 
While the Supplemental Budget proposal contains no cuts to eligibility or changes in benefit packages for children under age 19, there are several provisions that could affect RIte Care populations, including:
  • Eliminate the buy-in program for pregnant women between 250-350% of the Federal Poverty Level who are currently able to buy-in to the RIte Care program at full cost. 
  • Establishes a $25 co-pay for emergency room use by RIte Care members. This co-pay would be waived if the emergency room visit results in a hospital admission.
Proposed FMAP Increase Could Offset Rising Numbers of Uninsured
US capitalThe economic downturn has caused rising unemployment. As a result, families are losing employer-based health insurance. A key provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is a temporary increase in state FMAP (also known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage). FMAP helps states pay for Medicaid costs and ultimately allows for more children and families to have access to affordable health insurance coverage.
The FMAP increase would help states counter-balance the potential for steep increases in the ranks of the uninsured. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a temporary increase in FMAP funded by the federal government could amount to an additional $454 million for Rhode Island over the next two years. Read about this and other provisions of ARRA in CBPP's report Economic Recovery Packages: State-by-State Estimates of Key Provisions Affecting Low-and Moderate-Income Individuals.
Victories for Children's Health Coverage
Kids Flying On February 4th, President Obama signed the reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) into law. The Children's Health Insurance Reauthorization Act of 2009 preserves coverage for 6.7 million children currently enrolled in the CHIP program and extends coverage to 4.1 million more children nationwide, including children in families with incomes above 250% of the federal poverty level.
The 2009 CHIP Reauthorization also eliminates the five-year waiting period for immigrant children who are legal permanent residents (LPR) and, for the first time, provides federal matching funds funds for states who cover this group of children. View Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant's statement.

Also available is a detailed overview of CHIP by the Georgetown Center for Children and Families.
August 17th Directive Rescinded
The same day that CHIP was signed, President Obama also rescinded the August 17th 2007 directive issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The "August 17th directive" was a memorandum sent to state health officials imposing limited flexibility for states to expand enrollment to cover higher income children, while dictating a number of new requirements for states. The withdrawal of the directive complements the passage of CHIP in securing access to health coverage for children. View President Obama's memorandum rescinding the August 17th directive here.
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In This Issue
star Analysis of FY2009 Supplemental Budget Proposal
star Proposed FMAP Increase Could Offset Rising Numbers of Uninsured
star Victories for Children's Health Coverage
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Rhode Island KIDS COUNT works to improve the health, education, safety, economic security and development of Rhode Island's children.