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Pickett’s Measure to Extend, Enhance Children’s Health Insurance Program Heads to Governor
12/10/2015
HARRISBURG – Legislation is on its way to the governor to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two more years while transferring the initiative to the Department of Human Services for better coordination of care and cost-savings, said Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna), author of the bill and chairman of the House Insurance Committee.

For nearly 25 years, CHIP has offered no-cost or low-cost health care coverage for children, helping to improve the overall health of those under age 18. Any child not eligible for Medical Assistance is eligible for CHIP, with monthly premiums based on family income.

As part of CHIP, coverage includes routine doctor visits, prescriptions, dental appointments and eye care, along with immunizations, mental health, durable medical equipment, rehabilitation therapies, home health care and autism-related services.

“Extending CHIP for two more years would allow families all over Pennsylvania to better afford and provide health insurance coverage for their children and give them to access routine and preventative health care services,” said Pickett, who noted that CHIP has been a national model since its inception two decades ago. “This legislation would not only extend this vital program but also move it from the Insurance Department to the Human Services Department, which will generate needed cost-savings and meet federal regulations. We’ve been assured that families and health care providers should not see any change in eligibility, co-payments, benefits or coverage as a result of this change.”

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.

All 49 other states in the nation house their programs in agencies specifically for health, human services and/or Medicaid, and the federal government would reimburse the state 90 percent of the transition costs.

In addition to the extension and relocation, House Bill 857 would also make a number of other changes regarding health insurance. The measure would direct insurance companies to directly reimburse a non-network emergency medical services (EMS) provider, thereby helping ensure EMS agencies receive timely payment for their services. Another provision in the legislation would expand the Children’s Health Advisory Council by two members and allow information about CHIP to be circulated in schools. Finally, the legislation would clarify insurance coverage for automobile dealers that offer loaner cars to their customers.

Created in 1992, CHIP provides health insurance to uninsured children and teens who 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 Pennsylvania Children's Health Insurance Program.

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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