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CHIP Story

April 8, 2015

CHIP Story

Doctors’ kids get all their immunizations. They go to well-checkup visits. And they have health insurance. At least, that’s certainly always been true of my children. For most of their lives, they were covered under my physician-husband’s excellent employer-based insurance.

We paid minimal co-pays, had an affordable deductible and received quality care without a problem. But when my husband died suddenly in an accident, everything changed. In the midst of managing all the other crises, I had one more–the need to find a new source of insurance for our very young children, aged three and five.

I have health insurance through the small non-profit I work for, but my job doesn’t cover my family. If it did, I would pay hundreds of dollars per month per child. So employer-sponsored health insurance is not an option.

And because of what’s known as the “kid glitch,” Obamacare is also out. Even though my kids don’t get covered through my employer, the fact that I do means that we can’t qualify for a subsidy in the marketplace. Congress could and should fix that, but I’m not holding my breath. In the meantime, I’m glad to have an excellent alternative: the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

In Allegheny County, more than 10,000 children get their health insurance through CHIP. My children are some of the several hundred in the county that receives CHIP at full cost. We don’t receive any subsidies; but, because of the way the program is set up, the price is reasonable, and the coverage is as good as what we had under our prior plan when a hospital system was paying for our insurance.

Unfortunately, the clock is ticking on my children’s coverage. CHIP is only funded through September 30, 2015.

That’s why CHIP needs to be renewed and funded. If Congress does nothing, my children are only two of the 150,000 Pennsylvania kids who could lose their source of coverage. I know that there’s an effort to pass new legislation to fund CHIP in the works.  Congress, including the the Pennsylvania delegation, voted to extend CHIP for two more years. I hope the Senate will take up the bill, and pass it  soon.

Elly Fisher, Pittsburgh, PA

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