Q & A Column - March 11, 2008
QUESTION: I am employed, but my employer does not provide health insurance. My spouse and I cannot afford to purchase health insurance for our children. Is there a program or service available to help working families provide health insurance for their children?
ANSWER: Being able to seek medical care is an important asset for any individual. But this ability is even more important for our children. As they grow older, children need constant care, including regular check-ups and scheduled immunizations.
The good news is that Pennsylvania currently offers the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and it is available to even more families than in previous years.
CHIP was created in 1992 to ensure that children have access to medical care, and to protect their health and well-being. In 2006, the General Assembly passed a law extending CHIP’s low-cost and at-cost coverage to children who truly need it but whose families are not eligible for free CHIP or Medical Assistance.
To qualify, children must be residents of Pennsylvania, citizens of the United States (or permanent legal aliens) and be under the age of 19. The child may not be eligible for Medical Assistance or have any other type of health insurance.
CHIP coverage remains free for low-income families. Other families may qualify for low-cost coverage, which carries an average premium of $38 to $60 per month, per child. Families with higher incomes who qualify for at-cost CHIP will pay approximately $150 per month, per child.
Services covered by CHIP include visits to the doctor or dentist, immunizations, prescriptions, vision and hearing care, diagnostics, emergency care and up to 90 days of hospital care. Drug and alcohol abuse treatment, partial hospitalization for mental health services, home health care, rehabilitation therapy, hearing aids, and durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, are also covered.
To apply for CHIP, please call 1-800-986-KIDS or visit the CHIP Web site at www.chipcoverspakids.com .
The CHIP program helps families throughout the state better protect their children from illnesses. Please contact one of my district offices if your child may be eligible for CHIP. The locations are:
4457 Buffalo Road
Erie, PA 16510
Phone: (814) 897-2080
707 E. Columbus Ave.
Corry, PA 16407
Phone: (814) 664-9126
As always, if you have any questions about this program or another state government-related issue, please contact me or my district staff or visit my Web site at www.RepSonney.com . We are here for you and will help you in any way we can.
If you have a question you would like me to address in an upcoming column, please send it to:
Rep. Curt Sonney
Room 149-B East Wing
P.O. Box 202004
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2004
Rep. Curt Sonney
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 11, 2008