May 31, 2019

Fewer Florida children enrolled in Medicaid, CHIP in 2018, report says [WJCT]

This post was last updated on December 8, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Julio Ochoa writes:

“The number of children covered by Medicaid declined in Florida and other states for the first time in more than a decade.

With the unemployment rate at historic lows, that could mean that more children are being covered by their parents’ employers. But some experts say something else is at play.

‘It’s true that Medicaid is sensitive to changes in the economy,’ said Tricia Brooks, lead author of a report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families that examines the drop. “But while enrollment growth historically slows during favorable economic times, it’s really unusual for there to be a decline in enrollment.’

Nearly 70,000 fewer children in Florida enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP during 2018, according to the report. Those programs had seen enrollment increase or stay the same in all but one year since 2000. The growth coincided with historic drops in the nation’s uninsured rate for children.

'Florida already has a growing number of children becoming uninsured, and these declining enrollments in children’s Medicaid and KidCare is a sign that it is getting worse,' said Sadaf Knight, CEO of the nonpartisan Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added]."


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