A little-noted section of the latest version of the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act bill could help working parents pay for employer coverage for their children.

Part of H.R. 976, the SCHIP extension bill that the House passed Tuesday, would give states the option of paying employees’ share of group plan dependent coverage costs, acording to Janet Trautwein, chief executive of the National Association of Health Underwriters, Arlington, Va.

Today, many parents of SCHIP-eligible children have access to employer-sponsored health insurance coverage but cannot afford their portion of the dependent premiums, Trautwein says.

Current SCHIP authorization is set to expire Sunday.

The Senate seems likely to pass H.R. 976 this week, but President Bush says he will veto the bill.