Pennsylvania's CHIP is coming of age. State officials kicked off the 18th birthday celebration Thursday for the Children's Health Insurance Program.
Created under legislation by then Senator Allen Kukovich and signed in late 1992 by the late Governor Robert Casey, the program served as a model for the federal CHIP program enacted by President Bill Clinton in 1997.
CHIP currently covers more than 195,000 children and over the program’s 18-year history, more than 800,000 children have had access to coverage and care through CHIP. Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario says the program is a winning, public-private partnership with the government creating the benefits package and health insurance companies competing to offer the coverage.
"CHIP is definitely the silver lining in today’s volatile health care environment. CHIP premiums are affordable because they’re based on household income and there is no cost for families who qualify for free CHIP." Children can be covered up to age 19.
In 2006, the program was expanded through the Cover All Kids initiative so that any uninsured child and teen not eligible for, or enrolled in, Medical Assistance, would have access to affordable, comprehensive health care coverage. Ario says today 95% of children in Pennsylvania have some form of health coverage.
Pennsylvania's CHIP served as a model for the nation in 1997 when the federal S-CHIP initiative was enacted.
Pennsylvania CHIP is funded by a tax on cigarettes. The General Assembly approved legislation this week to extend the program for another 3 years.