Background Paper

No. 80

Premium Assistance: An Update
October 12, 2010


Cynthia Shirk, Consultant


This background paper explores the use of premium assistance in publicly financed health insurance coverage programs. In Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, premium assistance involves using federal and state funds to subsidize premiums for the purchase of private insurance coverage for eligible individuals. This paper reviews the statutory authority for premium assistance, including two new options made available under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009. It examines the status of premium assistance programs in the states and offers some insights into how premium assistance programs may fare under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Related Materials

For more information, see the related paper "Premium Assistance in Medicaid and SCHIP: Ace in the Hole or House of Cards?" (Issue Brief No. 182, July 17, 2006 ).

See also Carolyn Yocum et al., "Medicaid and CHIP: Enrollment, Benefits, Expenditures and other Characteristics of State Premium Assistance Programs," Government Accountability Office, GAO-10-258R, January 19, 2010

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