What does the federal budget mean for the health of North Carolina’s children?

Health policy fans received a big Christmas present from Congress in late December. The Omnibus Appropriations Act included many important health care policy and funding elements that will make a big difference in health care for our children and families this year. Here’s a look at what that means for North Carolina families.

Postpartum cover lock

One of the biggest changes in Medicaid coverage over the years is the American Rescue Plan Act’s state plan option to provide 12 months of postpartum coverage. North Carolina opted for legislation in 2021, with a sunset provision taking effect after five years. The new Credits Act has made the 12 month option permanent. So, as long as North Carolina participates, our state will continue to receive the additional funding to provide coverage for new parents for 12 months after the birth of a child.

Continued Medicaid Eligibility for Children

North Carolina is one of 24 states that offers 12 months of continuous eligibility for children for Medicaid and NC Health Choice. The new appropriations law requires all states to provide this coverage to children under 19, starting in 2024. While North Carolina already does this, a federal requirement provides additional safeguards for our children’s coverage. for the coming years.

Investments in mental health and more

The Appropriation Act also creates more investment for mental health, establishes grant programs to address maternal mental health and addiction, improves coverage stability for youth involved in the justice system, requires states to publish public directories of mental health service providers who accept Medicaid (starting in 2025), provide technical assistance to states on crisis response services, and more.

The law also boosts investment in child health and nutrition programs and reauthorizes essential home visiting programs for mothers, infants and early childhood.

Financing of the children’s health insurance program

The Appropriation Act guarantees federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (known here as NC Health Choice) through 2029 – federal funding for this program was previously set to expire in 2027. This provides more stability to families with children over the age of six who depend on the CHIP Program for their health coverage in our state.

Unwinding of Medicaid coverage protections

The law also ended the coverage provision that prevented states from de-enrolling anyone covered by Medicaid during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Due to the decoupling of these coverage requirements from the public health emergency, states will need to begin the process of “redetermination” (determining if Medicaid enrollees are still eligible) beginning April 1, 2023. At NC Child, we will devote a blog to this problem soon.

Learn more about what this high-impact legislation will mean for children’s health coverage in this detailed analysis from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families.

What does the federal budget mean for the health of North Carolina’s children?

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