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House Approves Pickett Bill to Relocate State Oversight of Children’s Health Insurance Program
12/1/2015
HARRISBURG – Legislation that would improve internal efficiency of the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) without noticeable changes to Pennsylvania families passed the state House today, said Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna), author of the bill and chairman of the House Insurance Committee.

House Bill 1633 would move oversight of CHIP from the Insurance Department to the Department of Human Services. All 49 other states in the nation house their programs in agencies specifically for health, human services and/or Medicaid.

“The most important part of this legislation is that families with children enrolled in CHIP will not see any changes to their eligibility, co-payments, benefits, coverage or even their cards,” said Pickett. “The intent behind this move is to save money, by allowing the state to merge informational technology systems and better meet federal regulations, along with providing a better coordination of care. I am hopeful this efficiency would allow even more families and children to be served by this popular and successful program.”

Pickett emphasized that the move would also permit the state to find ways in which services can be better coordinated and save on future costs.

At an informational meeting held by the House Insurance Committee in October, both Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller and Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas told the committee that they envision a seamless transition should the move take place. They stressed that families and children should not notice any changes to their benefits, coverage, provider networks or even their insurance card. All changes would take place on the administrative end to conform with federal law. If undertaken in the next two years, the federal government would reimburse 90 percent of the transition costs.

The change also would allow better coordination of services, especially for families whose income levels fluctuate and children transition between CHIP and Medicaid, upward of 10,000 each year, and to identify more children who would benefit from coverage.

Created in 1992, CHIP provides health insurance to uninsured children and teens that are not eligible for or enrolled in Medical Assistance. More than 150,000 children are presently covered by CHIP. That includes 653 in Bradford County, 54 in Sullivan County and 560 in Susquehanna County.

More information about CHIP is available online at CHIPCoversPAKids.com.

Representative Tina Pickett
110th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
(717) 705-2094
jkeaton@pahousegop.com
RepPickett.com / Facebook.com/RepPickett
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