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GAO: States Have Trouble With Child Premium Programs

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The 9 states that help low-income and moderate-income children pay for private health coverage report facing challenges.

Kathryn Allen, a director at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, has described the challenges in testimony presented today at a Senate Finance Committee hearing.

The 9 states that use State Children’s Health Insurance Program funds to subsidize private health coverage report that enrollment varies widely, Allen said, according to a written version of her remarks.

Louisiana has only 200 enrollees, while Oregon has about 6,000, Allen said.

The 9 states operate under a hodgepodge of different rules and waivers of rules, and some pay for supplemental private health insurance benefits to eliminate out-of-pocket costs, such as co-payments for well-baby visits, and some pay for no such supplement benefits for members of private health plans, Allen said.

Officials in Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia complained about the difficulty of keeping track of the health plan choice, employer contribution and parent job status information for program participants.

In Rhode Island and Wisconsin, officials complained about the difficulty of keeping up with changes in program designs and participant costs for children enrolled in employer-sponsored health plans, Allen said.

A copy of the GAO report is on the Web at Document Link