Report: More rural families using child health insurance program

A new report has found that public health coverage through the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is relied on more by rural children in Kansas than urban children.

In Kansas, CHIP is known as Healthwave. It covers health coverage for children under 19 in low income families that do not qualify for Medicaid but have family incomes under 232 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. It differs from Medicaid because it is not open-ended and states are awarded yearly allotments for coverage.

The report found that in 2012, 32 percent of rural Kansas kids were covered by CHIP compared to 26 percent of urban kids.

CHIP was created in 1997 and is a state-federal partnership program. Federal funding for Healthwave will expire in September 2015 without Congressional action.

The report was done by the Washington, D.C.-based bipartisan group First Focus, which advocates for children and families to be considered in federal policy and budget decisions, according to its website.