Forum Session

Using SCHIP to Subsidize Employment-Based Coverage: How Far Can This Strategy Go?
June 26, 2000


Karl Polzer


As the Department of Health and Human Services' Health Care Financing Administration prepared to issue final regulations implementing the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a major set of unresolved issues concerned the program's capacity to subsidize employment-based health coverage. With certain federal strings attached, the law allows state to use SCHIP dollars to subsidize employment-based coverage either for children alone or for families that include eligible children. At this meeting several state officials described many of the barriers they faced in attempting to implement these SCHIP subsidy programs and, along with federal policymakers and independent policy analysts, explored the reasons for the subsidy programs' slow development. The discussion examined to what degree the problems encountered in the few states where subsidy programs had been approved were due to the requirements of the SCHIP legislation as opposed to its interpretation by federal regulators. The various approaches taken by state officials in developing their subsidy programs and the complex nature of merging public subsidies with private insurance were also explored.


Patricia Canney, Director of Agency Program Implementation, Massachusetts Division of Medical Assistance; Pris Boroniec, Deputy Administrator, Wisconsin Division of Health Care Financing; Debbie Chang, Deputy Secretary for Health Care Financing, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Rick Curtis, President, Institute for Health Policy Solutions; Nicole Tapay, Director, Division of Benefits, Coverage, and Payment, Center for Medicaid and State Operations, Health Care Financing Administration; Jennifer Baxendell, Majority Staff — Health Policy, Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate

Related Materials

More information available in the accompanying Background Paper.

See also "Premium Assistance in Medicaid and SCHIP: Ace in the Hole or House of Cards?" (Issue Brief No. 812, July 17, 2006).

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