California Proposes Covering Parents Under Healthy Families
California officials Dec. 21 submitted a proposal to HCFA that would expand Healthy Families, the state's CHIP program, to include some parents of children already enrolled in the program, the Contra Costa Times reports. The expanded coverage, expected to cost $192 million in FY 2001-2002, would serve parents with income up to twice the poverty level. An estimated 290,000 adults could be eligible for the program. The state would pay $71 million of the program's expected $192 million cost, and the federal government would provide the remaining money (Contra Costa Times, 12/22). Money from California's tobacco settlement will pay for the expansion. Parents enrolled in the program would pay a monthly premium that would not exceed $25 per parent per month (Bustillo/Marquis, Los Angeles Times, 12/22). Officials hope the plan will be approved by the end of February and implemented by July (Contra Costa Times, 12/22).
Plan Could Help Retain Federal Funding
Lower-than-expected enrollment in Healthy Families nearly forced the state to return $590 million in unused federal CHIP money (Los Angeles Times, 12/22). Last week, however, Congress approved legislation that allows California to retain about $350 million for the program (Contra Costa Times, 12/22). Officials hope that expanding coverage will allow them to "reach more children" and "use all the [federal] money in the future" (Los Angeles Times, 12/22).