Missouri children with government health insurance will have continuous coverage for a year, starting from Jan. 1, as per a provision in the federal spending bill approved last year. This applies to all individuals aged 18 and under insured through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which bases eligibility on factors like household income, size, and children’s ages. The rule is enacted amid the systematic removal of ineligible recipients from the state’s Medicaid program; almost half of the nearly 110,000 people removed so far were children, raising concerns among advocates for children’s health coverage.
Missouri Children to Maintain Medicaid and CHIP Coverage for a Year
Missouri children benefiting from government health insurance will gain continuous coverage for one year, protecting them from expulsion from the state’s list. A provision in the federal spending bill approved last year mandates continuous coverage for all individuals under 18 accessing insurance through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) from January 1.
Unlike other states, Missouri does not provide yearlong coverage. This change will allow families to plan their children’s healthcare without disruptions.
Eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP depends on household income, size, and children’s ages. However, Medicaid enrollment can fluctuate throughout the year, causing potential disruptions in coverage for families with variable incomes or seasonal employment.
The rule arrives as thousands of children are being removed from the state’s Medicaid program, MO HealthNet, following the expiration of pandemic-era protections. Nearly 110,000 people, half of which are children, have been removed from the rolls according to data provided by KFF, a nonpartisan health research nonprofit.
The continuous coverage rule applies to those enrolling after January 1. However, those found ineligible or unreachable during the Medicaid review process will still be removed. Health officials point out the annual renewals process will continue, and coverage stability allows for more regular check-ups, vaccinations, and screenings.
While the continuous coverage is a positive development, critics, like Joel Ferber, advocacy director of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, argue that those affected by the recent Medicaid roll reduction will not benefit from the new rules. He insists that the state needs to keep eligible children on the program now.