News

State lawmakers should expand KidsCare eligibility ASAP

A year into a pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 16,000 Arizonans, the state legislature has repeatedly declined the opportunity to provide low-cost, comprehensive health coverage to tens of thousands of children. CAA’s new fact sheet explores why this measure is so important – and how many children would benefit.

In 2019, Arizona ranked 48th in the US for the rate of children’s health coverage. Latinx, American Indian, and Asian/Pacific Islander children are more likely to be uninsured than their peers of other races and ethnicities, and coverage gains for children of color facilitated by the Affordable Care Act have been eroded significantly over the past four years.

Unsurprisingly, our state also has one of the lowest income eligibility thresholds for its Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP; known as KidsCare in Arizona). KidsCare covers children up to age 21 whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. Currently, a family of four earning up to 205% FPL ($53,004 per year) may qualify for KidsCare. For comparison, the national median upper income threshold is 255% FPL, or about $67,575 per year.

In 2019 (the last year for which we have comprehensive data), over 16,000 uninsured Arizona children currently lived in households earning slightly too much to qualify for KidsCare. The COVID-19 pandemic has inevitably increased the number of uninsured Arizona children, and may have strained the finances of families with health coverage through their employers or the Health Care Marketplace.

At the same time, the state is receiving an influx of federal relief dollars. In state fiscal year 2020 alone, the state is anticipated to have saved $153 million in state funds earmarked for AHCCCS (which administers KidsCare).

HB2273 (Children’s health insurance program; eligibility), sponsored by Representative Kelli Butler (D-LD28) would have expanded income eligibility. This bill was never heard in committee. Subsequent attempts to insert this provision have failed to gain traction.

Lawmakers will have another opportunity to provide health coverage to thousands more Arizona children by including the expanded KidsCare eligibility in the state budget. We hope they do.

More News

15,000 Arizona kids gained health coverage during the pandemic – but we’ve still got work to do.

Health insurance is a long-term investment for children. It helps families get the care they need, when they need it, without fear of expensive health bills. And it helps kids learn, grow, and play at their best.   Racial and ethnic disparities in coverage rates persist, but a new report by Georgetown…

News

National academic progress report is out - See how AZ students performed

As expected, the COVID pandemic had a significant impact on our nation’s children.  The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) recent report shows students’ NAEP scores have decreased in math and reading competency.  Although Arizona students fared better overall than most...

News

The Importance of Federal Spending for Children

A new report released last week underscores the importance of federal investments on issues that impact children and families. It is often said that your priorities are reflected in where you spend your money, and it seems children are. An afterthought when budgets are created. The 2022 Children’s...