SCHIP Insurance Developments In Louisiana, Utah
Two newspapers recentlyreported on developments in SCHIP in Louisianaand Utah. Summariesappear below.
- Louisiana: State health Secretary Alan Levine in a telephone interview on Friday said that he believes the state will be given federal approval to expand SCHIP after a meeting on Friday in Washington, D.C., the Baton Rouge Advocate reports. The state is looking to expand coverage to children in families with incomes up to 250% of the federal poverty level. The current income eligibility threshold is 200% of the poverty level. HHS officials had denied a similar plan by former Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D). However, Levine said that the same officials were receptive to the state's current proposal and gave some constructive ideas for changing the plan so it would be approved. Levine said the state Department of Health and Hospitals on Monday will begin working on the changes to the proposal. Levine said, "We want to come up with something that's approvable in the next two to three weeks" (Shuler, Baton Rouge Advocate, 1/26).
- Utah: Several advocacy groups -- including the Utah Health Policy Project, Voices for Utah Children and United Way -- said a provision of the health care bill being considered by the state Legislature would cause children to be moved from SCHIP to less comprehensive health coverage or lose coverage altogether, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. The provision, introduced by state Rep. Dave Clark (R), would deny children SCHIP eligibility if their parents qualified for Utah's Premium Partnership for Health Insurance, a state subsidy program to buy private or employer-sponsored coverage. The groups claim that after moving children off SCHIP, private insurance companies' premiums could increase to a point where families could no longer afford coverage or that employer-based plans could provide less comprehensive coverage. They said that they hope Clark will study the effects of moving children off SCHIP before proceeding with the provision (May, Salt Lake Tribune, 1/25).
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