Monday, September 22, 2008

Expansion of SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program )

More Hoosier children are now eligible for health insurance coverage. The Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) announced in May that the federal government has approved the state's request to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The approval means approximately 10,000 more Hoosier children will receive coverage.

In January, FSSA asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to expand SCHIP as a part of the Indiana Check-up Plan which passed in 2007 with tremendous bi-partisan support led by Representative Charlie Brown (D) and Senator Pat Miller (R). Families who earn up to 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), which is approximately $53,000 for a family of four, are now eligible.

"We're always looking for ways to improve the health of Hoosiers, and now, more kids will have access to health insurance coverage. Next, we'll have to work hard to get them enrolled," said Governor Mitch Daniels.

With the expansion, FSSA estimates 5,100 more children will have coverage within the first year alone. Taken as a whole, the Hoosier Healthwise Program will:

- Expand eligibility to uninsured children whose families earn up to 250 percent of the FPL;

- Start year-round eligibility for children, regardless of changes to a family's income; and

- Add telemedicine as a benefit.

"We look forward to working actively with FSSA to help enroll as many children as possible in this new SCHIP expansion," said Covering Kids and Families of Indiana Executive Director David Roos. "The overwhelming public response to the Healthy Indiana Plan shows that active marketing and education efforts are necessary to educate families about the availability of new services."

Prior to submission, CMS had issued directives which FSSA initially thought would preclude their ability to extend coverage beyond 200 percent the FPL. As a result of a suggestion from Senator Frank Mrvan, Jr. (D), who presented a form of this amendment implemented in Wisconsin, FSSA was able to advance their expansion request.

"I am very happy that we have been able to expand the coverage of SCHIP to help additional children," said Senator Mrvan. "I appreciate working with Secretary Roob to not only extend health care coverage for Hoosiers, but to also enhance their quality of life."

Coverage is retroactive for those who meet eligibility guidelines as of January 1, 2008 and will begin on October 1. SCHIP was a part of the Federal Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which Congress created as a way to encourage states to provide health insurance to uninsured children. SCHIP is a part of Hoosier Healthwise, Indiana's health insurance program. For more information, or to see if you qualify, visit:

For more information on the Family and Social Services Administration, please visit:

Source: Indiana Family and Social Services Administration

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