HARRISBURG – State Rep. Camille “Bud” George is urging parents of children and teens without health insurance to apply now for affordable and comprehensive coverage under Pennsylvania’s new Cover All Kids program.
“Do not make the mistake of thinking you make too much money to qualify,” said George, D-74 of Houtzdale. “Cover All Kids is designed to cover all uninsured kids up to age 19 and is free for many families, including no co-payments for services.”
A four-member household making as much as $41,300 annually would qualify for free coverage and co-pays. A four-member household earning between $41,300 and $61,950 annually would pay monthly premiums ranging from $38 to $60 per child and $5 co-pays for a doctor’s visit and $25 for a trip to the emergency room.
George said families with annual incomes above 300 percent of the poverty level — more than $61,950 for a family of four — may be eligible for ‘at-cost’ coverage, about $150 a month per child, and co-pays that include $15 for a visit to the doctor and $50 for an emergency room visit.
“When applying for the expanded coverage through CHIP — the Children’s Health Insurance Program — each working family member can deduct $120 a month when determining a household’s gross, annual income,” Rep. George said. “Some dependent- and child-care expenses also are deductible.”
State residents whose under-age-19 children are ineligible for Medical Assistance and are not covered by any other health insurance may apply online at or call 800-5437 toll-free for a written application or to fill out an application with help from a counselor.
Coverage includes immunizations, checkups, prescription drugs, hearing, vision and dental services (but not braces), emergency and maternity care and mental health and substance-abuse services.
There is no waiting list to enroll in CHIP, although it takes up to six weeks to process an application. CHIP coverage must be renewed every year but a renewal form will be sent before coverage ends. A child’s pre-existing condition does not affect eligibility, but children in families seeking low-cost or at-cost coverage have to be uninsured for six months to qualify.
George said Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield and UPMC for Kids are offering CHIP in Clearfield County.
About 150,000 kids statewide are currently covered under CHIP, but an estimated 133,000 children remain uninsured. More than 1,200 Clearfield County families have CHIP coverage.
“I believe many more families in Clearfield County are now eligible,” Rep. George said. “Cover All Kids means just that — health insurance for all kids regardless of family income.”
George said the state House approved Gov. Edward G. Rendell’s Cover All Kids proposal last year, and the concept was approved this week by the federal government, which will share the costs of the program with Pennsylvania.
“The federal government’s OK of Cover All Kids should give a boost to the governor’s Cover All Pennsylvanians plan, which would offer affordable, basic health coverage to small businesses and the roughly 800,000 uninsured Pennsylvanians through private insurance,” George said. “I hope to see the legislation before the House in the coming months.”