Delaware Bill Would Allow All Parents To Enroll Children in State-Sponsored Health Plan
Delaware Lt. Gov. Matt Denn (D) and two state lawmakers on Thursday proposed legislation (HB 139) that would eliminate income requirements for the state's health insurance program for children, the Wilmington News Journal reports. Delaware Healthy Children is open to households with incomes of up to 200% of the federal poverty level. Monthly premiums are between $10 and $25. Under the measure -- proposed by Denn, state Rep. Terri Schooley (D) and state Sen. Patricia Blevins (D) -- parents with incomes above the eligibility threshold could enroll their children in the plan for a monthly premium of about $110, the known average cost of providing medical care to children in the program. The premium structure would allow the expansion to be carried out at no additional cost to the state, the News Journal reports.
Denn said no private insurance plans in the state allow families to enroll children without purchasing a family plan, which can be cost prohibitive. He also said the bill would include language to prevent parents from taking children off of their employer-sponsored plan to enroll them in Healthy Children. The bill would require that children be uninsured for three months to qualify for the public plan, unless the parents recently became unemployed, had their coverage terminated involuntarily or are transitioning from a different state's low-income health plan. Denn said that the bill "will allow us to take advantage of an established program" (Gibson, Wilmington News Journal, 5/1).