Citing income volatility among low-income Americans, the federal agency charged with analyzing Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has recommended that Congress adopt measures to ensure that low-income Americans retain health insurance as their income fluctuates above and below the federal poverty level.

In its March report to Congress, MACPAC (the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission) recommends that Congress empower states to extend coverage to eligible adults for an entire year to ensure that as those adults become eligible for Medicaid, lose Medicaid eligibility as their income rises, and then become eligible again because of unemployment or illness, they can maintain continuity of coverage and care.

macpacMACPAC also recommends that Congress extend the current transitional medical assistance program so low-income parents who move into the workforce do not immediately lose their Medicaid coverage and that it eliminate the waiting period for CHIP eligibility and prohibit CHIP premiums for children from families whose income is less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

MACPAC is a non-partisan federal agency charged with providing policy and data analysis to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP and making recommendations to Congress, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the states on a wide range of issues affecting these programs.

For more information about MACPAC’s March 2014 report and recommendations, see this MACPAC news release or find the entire report here.