Montana Can Continue Funding CHIP Through Mid-March

Funding will run out in two months without congressional action

By Justin Franz

HELENA — Montana has enough money to continue funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program through mid-March.

Marie Matthews, manager of the health department’s Medicaid and Health Services Branch, told a legislative interim committee on Friday the funding would run out in two months without congressional action.

About 27,000 Montana children receive health insurance through CHIP or Medicaid expansion. Matthews says more than 23,000 Montana children would be at risk of losing coverage if CHIP isn’t re-authorized.

Federal legislation to continue CHIP for six years is included in a bill that would fund government operations for four weeks, averting a shutdown.

The U.S. House passed the bill on Thursday, but it’s not clear if it will pass the Senate because Democrats want the bill to include protections for immigrants brought to the country as children who are now here illegally.