Penn. Gov. Rendell (D) Signs Law Allowing Purchase of SCHIP Coverage
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) on Thursday signed into law legislation that will allow families with annual incomes exceeding 200% of the federal poverty level to purchase health insurance through the state's SCHIP program, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Previously, Pennsylvania's SCHIP program provided coverage at no cost for children of families with annual incomes of up to 200% of the poverty level, or $40,000 for a family of four. Under the new law, a family of four with an annual income between $40,000 and under $50,000 can purchase coverage for a monthly premium of $36 per child. Monthly premiums increase to $50 per child for families of four with annual incomes between $50,000 and under $55,000 and to $57 per child for families of four with annual incomes between $55,000 and $60,000. Families with incomes exceeding 300% of the poverty level -- $60,000 annually for a family of four -- also can purchase coverage through the program if they were denied private coverage based on a pre-existing condition, if the cost of private coverage exceeds 10% of the family's annual income or if the price of private coverage is at least 150% greater than the state's monthly premium of $143 per child. In addition, the state will partially subsidize premiums for employer-sponsored health coverage for families who cannot afford to pay the full premium as long as the coverage costs less than enrolling a child in the SCHIP program. To be eligible for coverage, parents must show that their children have been uninsured for at least six months, are younger than two years old, have lost coverage because of a parent's unemployment or are switching coverage from another public insurance program. The law was designed with the goal of insuring within three years all Pennsylvania children ages 18 and younger (Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.