State buy-in programs are designed to address coverage shortfalls among moderate- and higher-income children whose families are not eligible for Medicaid or SCHIP but who cannot afford, or do not have access to, private coverage. These programs allow families to buy their children into a comprehensive public insurance plan with low out-of-pocket cost sharing at an unsubsidized premium. As more states aim to achieve universal coverage for children, buy-in programs may be one component they consider in their plans to reach that goal. This brief explores some issues for states to consider before implementing a buy-in program.
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