Report Highlights Recent Children's Health Insurance Coverage Developments

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Summariesof news about children's health coverage in Montanaand Pennsylvaniaappear below.

  • Montana: A proposed state ballot measure that would extend government-sponsored health coverage to thousands of uninsured children will not include a mandate that could require some parents to purchase private health insurance, state Auditor and Insurance Commissioner John Morrison said on Monday, the Billings Gazette reports. Morrison submitted the ballot measure to state officials in October, and he and Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) are discussing changes to the initiative. According to the Gazette, the debate between Morrison's office and the Schweitzer administration mostly focuses on the proposal's cost. Morrison estimates the measure would cost about $20 million annually, while the Schweitzer administration estimates the cost at $30 million to $35 million. Possible changes to the measure include increasing the SCHIP income eligibility limit from 175% of the federal poverty level to 250% of the poverty level; possible tax credits to help families with incomes between 225% and 300% of the poverty level add their children to private health plans that already cover the parents; and expanding Medicaid eligibility for children (Dennison, Billings Gazette, 12/11).

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  • Pennsylvania: SCHIP enrollment in Pennsylvania this year increased by 10% over last year to 166,151 beneficiaries, according to Gov. Ed Rendell (D), the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Enrollment in the program increased by 32% since Rendell took office in 2003. The state this year expanded the program to all uninsured children, regardless of family income. Higher-income families pay monthly fees for coverage under the program (Burling, Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/12).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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