HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett yesterday met with children and their families during a tour of the new Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital at the Hershey Medical Center and spoke about the need to increase outreach and enrollment for the state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
“Just like the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital was built to take care of the needs of children and families, our CHIP program continues to be here for Pennsylvanians,” Corbett said. “We have a common goal and mission, to take care of our children and to give parents a sense of comfort knowing that their children are covered and receiving state-of-the-art care.”
Corbett’s 2013-14 proposed budget includes plans to re-energize the CHIP outreach and enrollment activities with a commitment of $8.5 million to ensure our children don’t go without the medical care they need. The additional funding will be used for enrollment services and to provide health care coverage to the 9,300 new enrollees expected through the expanded outreach.
CHIP was created under legislation signed in 1992. It began providing benefits in 1993 and later served as a model for the federal S-CHIP program in 1997. CHIP expanded in 2006 with Cover All Kids, an initiative making sure that any uninsured child and teen not eligible for, or enrolled in, Medical Assistance would have access to affordable, comprehensive health care coverage.
Also attending the tour was Dr. Harold L. Paz, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center chief executive officer and Penn State’s senior vice president of health affairs, and state Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine.
“Our new Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital was built with a very specific purpose in mind – to offer exceptional health care for children in an environment designed to make the entire family feel comfortable,” Paz said. “Just as our facility is here for families, CHIP is also here for them – to provide peace of mind to parents knowing that medical visits are covered.”
“No matter your age, hospital stays can be a pretty intimidating experience, but it’s clear that the individuals here at the Children’s Hospital help kids and their parents feel at home during their hospital stay,” Consedine said. “CHIP provides that same level of comfort to families – to provide the health care safety net that families desperately need.”
CHIP is already one of Pennsylvania’s most successful public-private partnerships. The state offers the program and defines its benefit plans, while private insurance carriers coordinate those benefits and the care they provide.
CHIP has a comprehensive benefit package and includes doctor visits, prescription, immunizations, emergency care and certain dental, vision and hearing services.
Premiums are affordable because they’re based on household income and there is no cost for families who qualify for free CHIP. As an example, a four-person household making $60,000 will have an average monthly premium of $67 per child, plus co-pays. CHIP currently covers 188,600 children statewide.
CHIP is brought to families by the following private insurance companies: Aetna, Capital BlueCross, First Priority Health, Geisinger Health Plan, Highmark, Independence Blue Cross, Kidz Partners, United HealthCare of Pennsylvania, Inc. and UPMC for Kids.
For more information about the Governor’s budget proposal, go to www.pa.gov.
For more information about CHIP, visit www.chipcoverspakids.com.