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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Scarnati Discusses CHIP

Legislation to reauthorize and extend the Pennsylvania Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been signed into law, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).

Scarnati stated that House Bill 108 was signed by Governor Corbett on October 16th as Act 74 of 2013. Act 74 eliminates the six-month waiting period for children to receive coverage and extends CHIP through December 31, 2015. The legislation was unanimously passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives.

“I commend my colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives for swift passage of this important legislation to provide children in our Commonwealth with immediate access to the quality care that they need and deserve,” Scarnati said.

Pennsylvania’s CHIP was created in 1992 as a one-of-a kind-program designed to provide insurance coverage to children whose families do not qualify for Medical Assistance, but who cannot afford to purchase private insurance.

Scarnati explained that in addition to extending the program and eliminating the waiting period for children to receive coverage, Act 74 also requires the Children’s Health Insurance Advisory Council to meet twice per year. The Council is responsible for evaluating access and quality of service provided to children enrolled in CHIP.

“For more than 20 years CHIP has helped to provide quality care to children in Pennsylvania,” Scarnati continued. “This legislation takes a crucial step to help ensure that children across Pennsylvania continue to have access to important health tools such as routine check-ups, immunizations, dental and vision care.”

Free CHIP coverage is available to eligible children in households with incomes no greater than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL); low-cost CHIP coverage is available for those with incomes greater than 200 percent but not greater than 300 percent of the FPL; and families with incomes greater than 300 percent of the FPL have the opportunity to purchase coverage by paying the full rate negotiated by the state.

“Providing their children with health insurance is a great concern for many parents,” Scarnati said. “I am pleased that as a result of Act 74, CHIP will continue to be a needed resource for families who may have lost a job or who don’t have access to health coverage. Our children are our future, and helping them have a healthy start in life is something that each and every child deserves.”

More information on CHIP can be accessed at: http://www.chipcoverspakids.com/.

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