Children's Health Insurance Program Hits Highest-Ever Enrollment

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Children's Health Insurance

Pennsylvania Children's Health Insurance Program has reached an unprecedented enrollment of 158,874 this month.

This number includes the new families who have been able to enroll under the Cover All Kids expansion of the CHIP program.

"Since this time last year, we have enrolled nearly 17,000 more children into our CHIP program, which means more Pennsylvania families can have peace of mind that they have insurance for their kids," Governor Rendell said. "April was the first month for enrollments after we expanded income eligibility as part of my Cover All Kids initiative. That means more than 1,000 children joined the CHIP family who would not have been eligible before the expansion.

"Most importantly, CHIP enrollment increased from April to May by almost 2,800 children. This reflects the largest monthly increase since September 1998, with interest in the program continuing to grow by leaps and bounds. CHIP's Web site had more than 2.2 million 'hits' last month and CHIP helpline calls have increased 80 percent since last year at this time.

"Parents regularly tell us of the difference CHIP has made in their families' lives. Now, it's time to build on CHIP's success story and expand access to health care for everyone through Cover All Pennsylvanians program for adults that is part of my Prescription for Pennsylvania health care reform plan."

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Cover All Kids was designed to expand health insurance to thousands of uninsured children -- those whose parents earned too much to qualify for CHIP under the prior guidelines. CHIP, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, now offers coverage to all uninsured children who are not eligible for Medical Assistance, regardless of family income. Many families will get CHIP for free, others at low-cost. The approximate, average monthly cost for parents is based on a sliding scale:

-- $0 a month per child for a family earning less then 200 percent of Federal Poverty Limits (FPL) (gross income under $41,000 a year for a family of four)

-- $38 a month per child for a family earning 200 percent - 250 percent of FPL ($41,000 - $51,000 a year for a family of four)

-- $53 a month per child for a family earning 250 percent - 275 percent of FPL ($51,000 - $56,000 a year for a family of four)

-- $60 a month per child for a family earning 275 percent - 300 percent of FPL ($56,000 - $62,000 a year for a family of four)

-- $150 a month per child for a family earning above 300 percent of FPL (over $62,000 a year for a family of four)

Families whose incomes fall in the low-cost and at-cost (but not free) CHIP categories must also show that their child has not had private health coverage for the last six months, unless the child is two years of age or less; the child has lost coverage because a parent lost a job; or the child is moving from another public insurance program. This additional requirement does not apply to children whose family income falls in free CHIP income ranges.

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