Determining Income Eligibility in Children’s Health Coverage Programs: How States Use Disregards in Children’s Medicaid and SCHIP

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued an August 17, 2007, directive that would restrict states’ flexibility to continue to apply income disregards when determining eligibility for Medicaid and SCHIP coverage for expansions to children above 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

This issue brief describes the purpose of income “disregards” (which refer to both income that is excluded and expenses that are deducted from a family’s earnings); how disregards help enable children in working families to obtain health coverage; the types and amounts of disregards currently used in Medicaid for children and SCHIP; and the implications of prohibiting the application of disregards in determining eligibility for children’s health coverage programs.

Issue Brief (.pdf)