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Since 2009, CHIPRA has provided health coverage to an additional 63,000 children in North Carolina 

Raleigh, NC – Action for Children North Carolina, the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children and the NC Pediatric Society join together to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Children’s Health Insurance Program being reauthorized on February 4, 2009 with a call to action for local, state, and federal stakeholders to ensure that all North Carolina children have access to the insurance they need to lead healthy lives.

In June 2011–the most recent national data available–5.3 million children across the country were enrolled in CHIP programs, up 178,000 children since June 2010. CHIP and Medicaid create an essential safety net of coverage for low-income children, especially during difficult economic times. The percentage of uninsured children in the U.S. declined from 10.9 percent in 2007 to 10.0 percent in 2010, due largely to more children gaining coverage through Medicaid and CHIP.

In North Carolina, 193,000 children were enrolled in CHIP in June 2011, a 12 percent increase since June 2010.

“The Children’s Health Insurance Program has proven vital for North Carolina families struggling to provide medical care for their children,” said Deborah Bryan, president and CEO of Action for Children North Carolina. “As a result of CHIP, our state has been able to utilize a wide range of policy and programmatic tools to increase its coverage efforts.”

CHIP reauthorization has expanded the successful children’s program by helping children and pregnant mothers with family incomes too low to afford health coverage, but too high for other health plans. In addition to providing new funding dedicated to outreach and enrollment efforts, the law authorized several new policy options – like express eligibility determination, coverage of pregnant women in CHIP, deeming all newborns whose mothers are covered by Medicaid or CHIP to be eligible for coverage without need for an application, and removing the five-year waiting period for legal immigrant children and pregnant women to enroll in Medicaid and CHIP. These tools have enhanced states’ ability to improve access and boost enrollment.

“Although more children nationwide received health coverage over the last four years, one in 10 children in North Carolina remains uninsured,” said John Rusher, MD, president of the North Carolina Pediatric Society. “Local, state, and federal stakeholders must not yield until every eligible child is enrolled to receive CHIP’s quality health coverage and has access to essential medical services.”

“Meeting this challenge will require more education of the public and seamless processes for enrolling children,” said Rob Thompson, executive director of the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children. “We can eliminate unnecessary red-tape in the application process in order to help children gain access to vital care.”

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