New law targets Children’s Health Insurance Program
Health insurance for children in Pennsylvania has won a victory thanks to a new bill signed by Governor Tom Corbett. The bill has to do with the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides insurance coverage to more than 188,000 children currently enrolled in the program. The program is nearly two decades old and has often been criticized for being inaccessible to those that need it most. The new bill signed by Governor Corbett aims to resolve some of the issues that the program is most criticized for.
Legislation provides more funding for program
Per the legislation signed by the Governor, the Children’s Health Insurance Program has been extended until at least 2015. This means that children in need will be able to rely on the program for another two years before additional legislative action is needed to extend the lifetime of the program further. The legislation allocates $8 million to the program for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, giving the program the capability to enroll an additional 9,000 children throughout the state. There are currently 145,000 children estimated to be uninsured in Pennsylvania.
Waiting period abolished
The legislation also removes the six-month waiting period that barred entry into the health insurance program. This waiting period had often been criticized for prohibiting children from receiving the insurance coverage they needed. Without insurance coverage, children with serious illnesses where often unable to receive the medical care they needed due to the high costs associated with such care. The waiting period was initially meant to discourage people from dropping private health insurance plans in favor of the state’s program.
Hospitals spend fortune on uncompensated care
During the 2010-2011 period, Pennsylvania hospitals provided nearly $1 billion in uncompensated care in order to treat children and other people with serious illnesses. Many of these patients lacked health insurance and any feasible means of paying for the care they received. While hospitals did provide uncompensated care, many people did not receive medical attention either because they did not seek it out or because particular hospitals could not bear additional expenses.