Governor Wolf Delivers Victory for CHIP Buy-In Program, Ensures Families will Keep Coverage and be Held Harmless

February 13, 2015

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced that as a result of his administration’s continued efforts, the federal government has agreed that Pennsylvania families enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Buy-in Plan will not face tax penalties in 2015 while the program is brought into compliance with minimum essential coverage (MEC) under the Affordable Care Act. Families will now get to keep their CHIP Buy-In coverage, and will not be forced to get new insurance on the exchange by April 15th. At the same time, the Governor has received commitments from insurance companies that they will work in the coming weeks to ensure that “Full Cost” CHIP meets MEC before the end of the year.

“After my administration was made aware of this problem, we immediately moved to protect families who rely on this important program for their health coverage,” said Governor Wolf. “Last week, we secured concessions from the federal government, but we worked tirelessly to ensure they allowed families to continue receiving coverage through the Buy-in Plan.”

“My administration has also received a commitment from providers that they will work with the Insurance Department to make sure that CHIP’s Buy-in Plan meets federal requirements moving forward,” Wolf continued. “I have also directed the Insurance Department to work with families to make sure anyone who may have enrolled in new coverage can move back to CHIP.”

In early February, Governor Tom Wolf and Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller were made aware of the federal government’s ruling that the CHIP Buy-in Plan did not meet MEC. As soon as the Wolf Administration was made aware of this important issue, they moved quickly to rectify this matter.

“Governor Wolf proved today that this is how you solve problems – by being aggressive, and continuing to fight for the people of Pennsylvania,” said Commissioner Miller. “In less than two weeks, Governor Wolf and I have come up with a solution to a problem that has existed since last year. Governor Wolf and I are committed to taking care of our children, and will always work to make sure Pennsylvania families have the coverage they need.”

The Governor also announced his support of legislation authored by State Senator Matt Smith, which would ensure the Buy-in Program’s survival by requiring the design of a benefit package that meets the minimum essential coverage (MEC) required under federal law. In addition, he directed the Department of Insurance to continue their aggressive outreach plan to alleviate any confusion or hardship for families.

“My Administration will continue to collaborate with insurers and the General Assembly on behalf of Pennsylvania families,” said Wolf. “Senator Smith’s legislation will further protect this critical program, and it is my hope that the General Assembly passes it as soon as possible.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Sheridan – 717.783.1116

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