TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, is in jeopardy. Health experts in the Toledo area are working hard to fight for it.
Almost 8,000 children in Lucas County were enrolled in CHIP in October.
The program provides coverage for kids who do not qualify for medicaid and who do not receive healthcare through their parent's employer. So far, Congress has yet to renew the program, and time is running out.
"The funding expired September 30th, along with health center funding which is about 75 percent of organizational funding such as ours, neighborhood health association,it's tied to the chip funding as well," said Miranda Hoffman with Neighborhood Health Association in Toledo.
If CHIP is not renewed, more than nine million children could lose their insurance.
"We're obviously hoping that Congress renews the program but the question more so for families and hospitals is: How long?" Jeff Dempsey with Mercy Health St. Vincent Hospital said.
"The House has already recommended an approval for a two year extension program and now it lies with the Senate," Hoffman said. "And it is our hope that they can do a quick fix for this at least extend it for two years at level funding."
Neighborhood Health Association employees say they're working on both a state and national level to raise awareness about CHIP. The possible loss of funding could mean more money coming out of families' pockets.
"We do a sliding fee discount program to those that don't have insurance, but they would have difficulty with medical expenses or any kind of specialty services that we can't offer here other than primary health care," Hoffman said.
"If the program's not renewed with us caring for a great deal of families that have children that are on the chip program that absolutely could adversely affect us," Dempsey said. "Now it's just waiting for Congress."