The Wyoming Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as Kid Care CHIP, will change as the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) takes over the program’s direct benefits administration and claims processing later this year, leading to reduced costs to the state.
WDH has been contracting with a private insurance company to administer the program in Wyoming for many years. No private insurance or managed care companies responded to a recent request for program proposals distributed by WDH. The contract for the existing vendor expires September 30.
“We are going to incorporate Kid Care CHIP into the processes and procedures we already have in place to manage Wyoming Medicaid,” said Teri Green, Division of Healthcare Financing senior administrator with WDH.
Green said the change will begin October 1 and will lead to an expected $1.8 million annual cost savings in state general funds. Nearly 3,300 children are currently enrolled in the program, which is supported by a combination of state and federal funds.
“By taking advantage of existing Medicaid capabilities, we anticipate a reduction in the cost to manage the program and we will not need to add any staff,” Green said.
To allow for a streamlined adoption, some program changes are planned to help make the Kid Care CHIP program more consistent with Wyoming Medicaid. “We’re planning for lower copays and increased service coverages for our Kid Care CHIP recipients,” Green said.
Because Wyoming Medicaid is widely accepted among the Wyoming healthcare providers, it’s expected very few individuals will need to change providers.
Existing CHIP recipients will not need to take any action to maintain coverage, and there will be no change to the enrollment process. Families interested in applying for either Kid Care CHIP or Wyoming Medicaid already use the same process, which can be found online at https://health.wyo.gov/healthcarefin/apply/.
Wyoming providers and recipients will receive ongoing communication as the change approaches. Regular updates are also available on the Kid Care CHIP Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KidCarechip. More information on the Kid Care CHIP program can be found at https://health.wyo.gov/healthcarefin/chip/.
Green noted a bill passed in the 2020 session of the Wyoming Legislature laid the groundwork for what would happen if no companies bid on the program.
Wyoming Medicaid is a joint federal and state government program that pays for medical care for some low-income and medically needy individuals and families. CHIP provides low-cost health coverage to children in families who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but have incomes of less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.