CHIP Numbers on the Decline

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Enrollment in the Children's Health Insurance Program has fallen sharply in the first months of 2006.

Officials in Austin say participation has dipped below 300,000 for the first time since 2001. Critics say changes in the renewal process may have confused or put off some families.

The program offers low-cost insurance to children whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but can't afford private coverage.