Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell has signed H.B. 2699, a bill that will increase eligibility limits for subsidized coverage from the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Families of 4 may be eligible for subsidized CHIP coverage even if they earn as much as $60,000, and families that have a hard time finding affordable private coverage for their children may be able to buy into the CHIP even if they earn far more than the limit for subsidized coverage, according to the text of the new law.
The state Senate approved H.B. 2699 by a unanimous vote, and the state House approved it 176-19.
Rendell is hoping to put CHIP expansion into action in January 2007.
Critics of the program at the Pennsylvania Association of Health Underwriters, Pittsburgh, have conceded that the CHIP expansion bill was politically unstoppable, but they argued that CHIP expansion could backfire by decreasing employers’ and insurers’ incentive to offer private dependent coverage.
The Pennsylvania CHIP now is free for children from families with annual incomes under 200% of the federal poverty level, or about $40,000 for a family of 4. The program offers subsidized coverage for families with annual income up to 235% of the federal poverty level, or about $47,000 for a family of 4, according to Rendell administration officials.