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Children's insurance gets some funds; future still in doubt

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A program providing insurance for children of low-income families in Alabama and other states has received some funding to keep it operating through March.

Posted: Dec 26, 2017 1:01 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A program providing insurance for children of low-income families in Alabama and other states has received some funding to keep it operating through March.

However, the program's long-term future remains in doubt.

Congress again failed to approve long-term funds for the popular program, which provides health insurance for nearly 9 million low-income children.

Lawmakers scrambling to leave the Capitol for the holidays on Thursday approved a short-term patch aimed at keeping the state programs operating through March. However, some Republicans said federal officials think the money would run out by early February. The money was part of a bill averting a weekend federal shutdown.

In Alabama, about 84,000 children were at risk of losing health insurance if Congress had not taken action to provide the short-term funding for the program.

Nationwide, about 9 million children receive coverage through the program, and many states planned to shutter the program if funds ran out.

Families with incomes of up to 312 percent of the federal poverty limit can qualify if they don't have access to affordable insurance. Families pay $52 or $104 a year to cover children under the age of 19, depending on income, plus small co-pays for sick visits.

"These are middle-income working Alabama families," said Cathy Caldwell, director of the Bureau of Children's Health Insurance Programs for the Alabama Department of Public Health.

The program in Alabama funded by CHIP is known as ALL Kids, which has existed in the state since 1998.

Caldwell said ALL Kids was very popular and successful. When the program started about 20 percent of children in Alabama lacked health insurance. That number is now 2.4 percent — the best in the South.

"It is a very, very important and popular program," Caldwell said. "It has served hundreds of thousands of children over the years."

Before Congress decided late in the week to provide the reprieve through March, Caldwell said her staff had already received calls from Alabama parents worried about their children's health coverage.

Caldwell said that if ALL Kids were to end entirely, parents could seek insurance outside of the open enrollment period. But she said many families might not be able to afford private insurance.

"Some of the children will have that as an option," Caldwell said. "Some may have employer-sponsored insurance. Any of those will be substantially more expensive than ALL Kids."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 263023

Reported Deaths: 5752
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17675191
Hinds16813331
Harrison14224204
Rankin11167219
Jackson10839190
Lee9050144
Madison8568168
Jones6668114
Forrest6177124
Lauderdale6097192
Lowndes5518120
Lafayette516298
Lamar503965
Washington4923125
Bolivar4104109
Oktibbeha405982
Panola384881
Pontotoc376258
Warren3674103
Monroe3671108
Union355663
Marshall355270
Neshoba3485154
Pearl River3468105
Leflore3111109
Lincoln305688
Hancock291862
Sunflower291475
Tate279662
Alcorn272354
Pike268981
Itawamba268063
Scott259648
Yazoo255256
Prentiss252553
Tippah249250
Copiah249049
Coahoma248054
Simpson242171
Leake237367
Grenada223272
Marion222073
Covington219973
Adams213671
Wayne212634
Winston207371
George204339
Newton199046
Attala196963
Tishomingo194161
Chickasaw189044
Jasper179538
Holmes171768
Clay165837
Tallahatchie156235
Stone151425
Clarke147262
Calhoun140822
Smith129226
Yalobusha122034
Walthall114337
Greene113529
Noxubee112926
Montgomery111636
Carroll106622
Lawrence106517
Perry104531
Amite101426
Webster96124
Tunica88821
Claiborne88325
Jefferson Davis88329
Benton85623
Humphreys84624
Kemper80520
Quitman7089
Franklin69917
Choctaw63213
Wilkinson59825
Jefferson56821
Sharkey45117
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 439442

Reported Deaths: 6657
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson644371007
Mobile31435569
Madison28158217
Tuscaloosa21492275
Montgomery19873332
Shelby19248132
Baldwin17128189
Lee13137107
Morgan12594142
Etowah12070181
Calhoun11496206
Marshall10420123
Houston8988164
Limestone832081
Cullman8257124
Elmore8183110
DeKalb7871107
Lauderdale7847107
St. Clair7808130
Talladega6445112
Walker6028183
Jackson599145
Colbert548694
Blount546286
Autauga535862
Coffee460764
Dale409685
Franklin374150
Russell354215
Chilton344373
Covington338580
Escambia334544
Tallapoosa3143109
Dallas312996
Chambers303470
Clarke298036
Pike262431
Lawrence253355
Marion253161
Winston233342
Bibb222348
Geneva210247
Marengo208231
Pickens199531
Hale184944
Barbour180538
Fayette177829
Butler173160
Cherokee165131
Henry159525
Monroe152021
Randolph145536
Washington141727
Clay129746
Crenshaw123745
Macon121937
Cleburne121525
Lamar119922
Lowndes114836
Wilcox107922
Bullock103328
Perry99918
Conecuh97822
Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63418
Choctaw51924
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