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Cover All Kids

Aimed at providing quality and affordable health care coverage to children who remain uninsured in Pennsylvania, legislation (HB 2699, Act 136/2006) was enacted expanding the state’s landmark Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

“Free” children’s health insurance is available to families earning up to 200% of the federal poverty level (up to $44,100 for a family of four). Families earning between 200% to 300% of the federal poverty level (up to $66,150 for a family of four) are eligible for subsidized, reduced-cost coverage for their children with average monthly premiums as follows:

  • $43 a month per child for a family earning between 200% – 250% of the federal poverty level;
  • $60 a month per child for a family earning between 250% – 275% of the federal poverty level;
  • $68 a month per child for a family earning between 275% – 300% of the federal poverty level.

Previously, only families earning between 200% and 235% of the federal poverty level qualified for subsidized, reduced-cost CHIP coverage.

In addition, families with incomes over 300% of the federal poverty level may now purchase below-market “at cost” coverage under the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (an average of $195 a month, per child) if private coverage costs more than 10 percent of a family’s income, the cost of private coverage is more than 150% of the cost of the CHIP premium, or private coverage was denied by a pre-existing condition. To discourage businesses and parents who can afford private insurance from dropping child health insurance coverage to take advantage of the state-subsidized program, families must show that their child has not had coverage for the past six months — unlessthe child is two years old or younger.

For more detailed information, visit www.chipcoverspakids.com

For Spanish speaking residents, CHIP has established a new website at www.chipysusalud.com

Historical Perspective

First enacted under the Democratic administration of the late Governor Robert P. Casey, Pennsylvania’s CHIP program became a model for the nation and was enacted in federal law during the Democratic administration of President Bill Clinton. The state’s program — to provide health coverage to children from families earning too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private insurance — was the first bill passed when Democrats gained control of the Pennsylvania Senate in the fall of 1992. Before that, after passing the Democratic-controlled state House, the legislation (HB 20, Act 113) had sat idle in the Republican-run Senate for nearly a year.

As of 2010, more than 190,000 Pennsylvania children were receiving quality free, reduced-cost or at-cost health care coverage under Pennsylvania’s CHIP program.