WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown, D-OH, Tammy Baldwin, D-WI, Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, have introduced legislation to provide stability for all individuals eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by ensuring that they can depend on their coverage for a continuous 12-month period. The senators’ bill, the Stabilize Medicaid and CHIP Coverage Act, would protect Americans from losing their coverage as a result of short-term changes to their incomes. The bill also provides incentives to states to help reduce turnover across Medicaid and CHIP programs. Reps. Debbie Dingell, D-MI-12, and Frank Pallone, D-NJ-6, are leading companion legislation in the House.

Each year, millions of Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries who enroll in coverage are at risk of losing that coverage as a result of taking on an extra shift or working overtime, simply because their income fluctuates slightly. As a result, these short-term changes set in motion bureaucratic snafus that cause taxpayers to be disenrolled from their insurance. This causes people to “churn” in and out of coverage. Churning in and out of health coverage has a direct, negative effect on beneficiaries as well as the ability of doctors, hospitals, and health plans to provide effective, continuous care. Not only does this breakdown in coverage disrupt care, it can also cause significant administrative challenges that result in higher costs for states, providers, and health plans.

“No Ohioan’s treatment plan or care should be disrupted because they lost coverage as a result of taking on an extra shift or working overtime to make ends meet. This critical legislation will modernize the Medicaid program to ensure Ohioans retain their coverage even if their income fluctuates slightly from month-to-month,” said Senator Brown.

“Wisconsin families should be able to rest easy at night knowing that working longer hours is not putting their health care on the line,” said Senator Baldwin. “This legislation will allow working families and their children to maintain access to the quality health care coverage they depend on through Medicaid and the CHIP program even if their paychecks slightly change.”

“No one should suddenly lose their health coverage because they put in some extra hours at work or took on another shift,” said Senator Warren. “Health care is a basic human right, and I am glad to join Senator Brown in reintroducing the Stabilize Medicaid and CHIP Coverage Act to ensure everyone maintains access to the quality health coverage they rely on.”

“A short-term change in income should not affect access to high-quality, affordable health care,” said Senator Whitehouse. “Our legislation will ensure that Rhode Islanders on Medicaid or CHIP don’t lose their coverage due to small bumps in pay and needless bureaucratic hurdles.”

The Stabilize Medicaid and CHIP Coverage Act has been endorsed by a number of organizations, including America’s Essential Hospitals, the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, the Children’s Hospital Association, and Families USA.

Last year, Brown worked to pass the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, which included a requirement for states to provide 12 months of continuous enrollment to children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP beginning Jan. 1, 2024. Today’s legislation that was introduced extends continuous enrollment eligibility to adults.