Iowa Kids Could Go Uninsured If Congress Doesn’t Act Fast

DES MOINES, Iowa--  Thousands of Iowa children could lose health insurance if congress does not act fast.

A bill to continue federal funding for the child health insurance program, also known as CHIP, is stalled in congress.

Nationwide two-million kids are at risk of being uninsured and some states are already out.

Nine million, children across the country are covered by CHIP.

The program helps kids whose families make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough money to afford private insurance.

The federal funding for CHIP ended in September and three months later congress has still failed to add more money.

Across the country, families have already been warned they could lose coverage.

In Colorado, their health insurance program is already out of money, so kids are being kicked off insurance come January 2018.

But Eric Kohlsdorf, the chair of Iowa's CHIP program, Hawk-i says that's not the case here, yet.

“In Iowa we were funded through the first quarter of 2018 to cover the kids until the first quarter of 2018 so, let’s call it march that is our funding with federal funding so what the bill is going through in DC is to renew the funding for the chip program nationally," Kohlsdorf said.

Here and across the country, there's long-term worry about what could happen next year.

“I am concerned for not only my family but other families who work full time but still cannot afford medical bills," Jill Smith said.

The Hawk-i board chair says all hope is not lost though.

“There are options so, individuals can go into Medicaid not Hawk-I, if they qualify for Medicaid. The other side of it is, there is an exchange the ACA or Obamacare and we have an insurance company called Medica," Kohlsdorf said.

Right now, Iowa gets about $90 million from the federal government, but the state must come up with ten percent more to qualify for that 90.

If congress does not renew funding, Iowa will be on the hook for paying the entire $100 million.

We spoke to The Department of Human Services.

They say, if funding is cut off, Iowa faces three options, freezing enrollment, combining Hawk-i with Medicade or getting rid of the program all together.