End the 5 Year Wait For All Legally Residing Children

The 2009 CHIP reauthorization law (known as CHIPRA) included a number of changes that affect both Medicaid and CHIP. One of those changes was a new option, often referred to as “ICHIA,” that allows states to receive federal funds for providing Medicaid and CHIP coverage to lawfully residing immigrant children and pregnant women regardless of their date of entry.

Previously, states had been prohibited from using federal Medicaid or CHIP funds to cover legal immigrants who had been in the country less than five years, under restrictions enacted as part of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA).

Currently, legally residing immigrant children are forced to wait 5 years before becoming eligible for Florida KidCare, our state’s subsidized health care program for children.These kids are 10 times more likely to have unmet medical needs, 5 times more likely to go two or more years without seeing a doctor, and 25% more likely to be absent from school. 

The Florida KidCare Bill (House Bill 829 and Senate Bill 294) would eliminate the 5 year wait for approximately 25,000 lawfully residing children in Florida.

Related Links:  CHIP Tips: ICHIA Explained

HB 829 was filed by Representative Mike Larosa (R – Orlando) in the House on February 18, 2015. The bill has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

SB 294 was filed by Senator Rene Garcia (R – Miami) in the Senate on January 8, 2015. The bill was unanimously passed by the Senate Health Policy committee on February 17, 2015. SB 294 has been referred to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. If approved there, it will make its final stop in the Senate Appropriations committee.

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