Local mom voices concern over unclear future of children’s health insurance program

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A local mother is expressing serious concerns over federal funding for a health insurance program helping thousands of children and pregnant women in Virginia.

“When you’re already going paycheck to paycheck and now you have to worry about something else as important as your children right here at Christmas, it’s heartbreaking,” said the single mother of two Latasha Wiggins.

Two weeks ago the state sent a letter out to almost 70,000 families across Virginia, informing them that come January 31st they might lose health insurance for their kids.

“Devastation, fear, worry.”

That’s what Wiggins says she felt after getting the letter. She is one of the thousands of families that depend on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which for decades has provided low-income children and pregnant women with health insurance. The federal government shoulders a majority of the cost but two months ago funding for the program expired.

“I knew nothing about it, I knew nothing about it until I received the letter,” said Wiggins.

Congress has approved funding for CHIP through March, but its long-term future is still in doubt. Meanwhile, Wiggins, a mental health counselor with a master’s degree, says she won’t be able to afford healthcare for her kids, including medication for a teenage son.

“One of his medications is $396,” said Wiggins. “After calling my employer to see how much it would cost to add them to my insurance, that is almost $410 a month that I don’t have.”

Wiggins says she’s not waiting on Congress and she’s calling on all parents to take action now.

“Take a stand, call your senator, call your governor, call your local representatives, do something to try to help,” said Wiggins.

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