ROUND-UP: Governor Wolf Announces All CHIP Plans Will Provide Enhanced Benefits to Meet Affordable Care Act Requirements

August 21, 2015

At the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf announced that all CHIP health insurance plans will provide enhanced benefits to meet the minimum essential coverage requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act. These added benefits will begin when new CHIP policies take effect December 1. This means no family will have to worry about paying a penalty or getting new insurance now that the entire program is meeting the requirements, regardless of whether Washington, D.C. decides to make changes to their standards again.

Governor Wolf is committed to fighting for Pennsylvania families and achieving real victories in the face of Harrisburg gridlock. Check out the coverage of the announcement:

LNP: Pa. CHIP plans will offer better coverage starting Dec. 1.

“Starting Dec. 1, the 148,000 Pennsylvania children covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program will receive better benefits… On Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that the enhanced benefits would kick in not just for the buy-in program but for all CHIP enrollees when the new plan year starts in December… Hilda Shirk, president and CEO of SouthEast Lancaster Health Services, said the improvements will reduce the financial burden for many of the families the federally qualified health center serves.” [LNP, 08/20/15]

PLS Reporter: Gov. Wolf announces expanded CHIP benefits.

“Gov. Tom Wolf traveled to Hershey Thursday morning where he was joined by Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller at Penn State Hershey Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital to announce enhanced Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) benefits at all levels so the insurance plans will meet Affordable Care Act standards for minimum essential coverage. Currently, those subscribing to the full cost CHIP option—meaning the family pays the full amount of the insurance premium—are exempt from tax penalties as a result of Wolf administration efforts to get the federal government to offer hardship waivers for that program with the rest of CHIP enrollees being grandfathered into ACA minimum coverage requirements. The enhanced benefits mean that no CHIP family will have to incur tax penalties for not having minimum essential coverage.” [PLS Reporter, 08/20/15]

WITF: Prompted by feds, PA sweetens kids’ health insurance coverage.

“About 150,000 children enrolled in a state-subsidized health insurance program will see additional benefits by the end of the year. The Wolf administration is expanding health benefits for the entire Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The changes cap a months-long effort to bring the program’s plans up to the standards of the Affordable Care Act. The federal government warned state officials earlier this year that a small set of CHIP families would face tax penalties unless they had better health coverage. In response, the Wolf administration expanded benefits for that subset, as well as everyone else in the program.” [WITF, 08/20/15]

Harrisburg Patriot-News: No Obamacare tax penalties for Pa. CHIP families, benefits improve for 148,000.

“Higher income families who use CHIP medical benefits for their kids no longer face penalties for having coverage that doesn’t meet federal minimum essential benefits requirements. In averting the penalties, the state has also improved CHIP benefits for all 148,000 children using CHIP, the state-run program to provide health benefits for children, Gov. Tom Wolf said Thursday… The state has obtained federal waivers and extensions so that the families won’t be penalized for having the non-compliant coverage before Dec. 1. Wolf announced Thursday the improved benefits will extend to all children covered by CHIP.” [Harrisburg Patriot-News, 08/20/15]

FOX43: Wolf announces revisions to CHIP program.

“Governor Tom Wolf announced changes to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  Starting December first, there will no longer be dollar limits on essential health services like pediatric, vision, and orthodontic services. The changes were made to meet Affordable Care Act requirements. Governor Wolf made his announcement from the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.  He says he’s committed to fighting for all families and the 148,00 children in the CHIP program.” [FOX43, 08/20/15]

Philadelphia Inquirer: Pa. upgrades kids’ CHIP insurance plan.

“Gov. Wolf announced Thursday a series of small benefit upgrades for families with coverage though the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), effective Dec. 1. Changes include removal of limits on inpatient and outpatient stays for mental-health and substance-abuse treatment, and the end of outpatient co-payments for mental-health services. Vision care was broadened to cover more types of prescription lenses and tinting.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 08/20/15]



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