2023 State of Children's Health in PA

The 2023 State of Children’s Health report analyzes the latest Census data around children’s health insurance during the last full year of the COVID-19 public health emergency, and the results are surprising. In what was expected to be another year of improvement thanks in large part to pandemic- era flexibilities in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the 2022 data instead shows children in Pennsylvania are less connected to health insurance than the prior year. More PA Children Without Health Insurance 4.4% 5.2% 2023 has been a big year for changes in the landscape of children’s public health insurance. On the Medicaid side, the continuous coverage provision that was put into place at the start of the pandemic, which allowed children and others to stay continuously enrolled, expired on April 1, 2023. For the first time in three years, Medicaid renewals are required to stay enrolled. Another major change that began in April 2023 is the transition of the eligibility systems for CHIP. This change shifts eligibility and enrollment responsibilities from CHIP managed care organizations to the county assistance offices run by the Department of Human Services (DHS). These changes have been disruptive to children’s coverage and are likely to impact next year’s uninsured data reporting. For now, it is troubling to see the unexpected dip in the

uninsured rate ahead of what’s likely to be another declining year. Advocates, policymakers, and other stakeholders have an opportunity to use the latest demographic findings laid out in the report to target outreach efforts more strategically to families of the 145,000 children who need health coverage. The report follows the progress on the Medicaid unwinding and the CHIP eligibility systems transition, and urges DHS to take specific actions to: keep children connected to health insurance by immediately restoring Medicaid coverage for those who lost it during the automated “ex parte” renewals error; and support multi-year continuous eligibility for children during a critically important developmental period from birth to kindergarten. Together, these vital action steps can help offset the loss of children’s coverage and put Pennsylvania on a better path for keeping children enrolled for longer periods, yielding better outcomes.


Health Insurance Trends During the Final Year of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

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