Good news. AHCCCS’ 2020 budget request includes a general fund request of $7.9 million for KidsCare. The request was made under the assumption that the KidsCare trigger law will be amended this coming legislative session, preventing a freeze to CHIP enrollment.
There’s a trigger in state law that automatically freezes the Arizona KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%. Under current federal law, the match rate is scheduled to go down to about 90% (9 federal dollars for every state dollar) on October 1, 2019. So, if the current law isn’t changed during this next legislative session then we’ll likely have an enrollment freeze of the Kids Care program again this time next year.
The fact that AHCCCS included the $7.9M in state matching funds in the budget is encouraging, but the budget request isn’t enough to solve the problem- the legislature would need to change the statute and appropriate the funds to prevent an enrollment freeze.
Kids Care is run by AHCCCS and currently covers about 30,500 kids with a pretty good set of benefits and reasonable premiums. It’s only available for kids in families that don’t qualify for regular Medicaid and who live in a family that makes under 200% of poverty.