The federal health reform law could expand health insurance eligibility to approximately 5.3 million children, yet 1.7 million kids would remain ineligible, according to a study released Monday by the Government Accountability Office, Modern Healthcare reports.
The study, which was based on 2009 data and requested by senior Senate Democrats, found that:
- 3.4 million children would gain coverage in 2014 through the law's Medicaid expansion provision;
- 1.4 million children would gain coverage through the Children's Health Insurance Program; and
- 530,000 children would become insured through policies sold through state-based health insurance exchanges.
According to the study, uninsured children who are not expected to gain coverage through the health reform law include:
- 880,000 non-citizens;
- 460,000 who meet Internal Revenue Service standards as having access to affordable employer-based coverage; and
- 380,000 who live in families whose income is more than 400% of the federal poverty level.
The findings are dependent on whether states decide to opt into the Medicaid expansion, as well as IRS' proposed affordability standards, which critics say are inconsistent with the reform law's goal of increasing access to coverage, according to the report.
In addition, CHIP funding expires in 2015 and states are allowed to restrict program eligibility or eliminate programs altogether beginning in fiscal year 2020. The study estimates that if states were to restrict eligibility, an additional 1.9 million children could be without coverage (Daly, Modern Healthcare, 7/23).