HARRISBURG – The state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) celebrated its 20th year of providing coverage yesterday by announcing that $8.5 million in funding will be proposed in Gov. Tom Corbett’s 2013-14 budget to focus on expanding the number of insured children in Pennsylvania.
CHIP has provided quality health care coverage to more than one million children in Pennsylvania since benefits and coverage began in 1993.
“CHIP is a constant in today’s changing health care landscape, providing coverage for two decades now,” Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine said. “Parents regularly tell us of the difference CHIP has made in their families’ lives and how grateful they are for the peace of mind that comes from knowing their children have access to such great benefits.”
Consedine previewed the $8.5 million funding proposal from the governor to help spread the word that CHIP is available to all uninsured children and teens in the commonwealth who are not eligible for Medical Assistance.
Approximately $1 million of the proposal will be used to focus on partnerships and enrollment outreach toward the long-term goal of insuring all eligible children in Pennsylvania.
The additional funding will be used for enrollment services and to provide health care coverage to the additional 9,300 new enrollees expected through the expanded outreach.
Also attending the celebration was Acting Health Secretary Michael Wolf, who pledged his support to spread the good word about CHIP.
“With CHIP, kids are able to go to the doctor for routine check-ups, get their immunizations and take advantage of other benefits like dental and vision services. Bottom line, kids are growing up healthier because of CHIP,” Wolf said.
One of the nation’s most successful children’s health insurance programs, CHIP currently covers more than 188,000 children. 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 was created under legislation signed in 1992, 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 that focused on the fact that any uninsured child and teen not eligible for, or enrolled in, Medical Assistance would have access to affordable, comprehensive health care coverage.
The celebration was held at the Carnival of Health exhibit at Whitaker Center, Harrisburg, which is sponsored by Capital BlueCross, a CHIP insurance contractor. The exhibit covers more than 2,200 square feet and features hands-on activities that focus on the importance of staying healthy.
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 on the CHIP program, call 1-800-986-KIDS or visit www.chipcoverspakids.com.