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Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children President and CEO Joan Benso today lauded efforts by the Wolf administration and private insurers to work together to bring all coverage offered under Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) up to federal minimum essential coverage standards by the end of the year.

“Today’s announcement should provide much-needed peace of mind to many families with children enrolled in CHIP,” Benso said. “Pennsylvania’s CHIP program has a strong history of helping families find quality, affordable health care for their children, and this latest development only builds on that history.”

In an effort to improve the quality of health care, the federal Affordable Care Act sets minimum essential coverage standards for private health insurance. While Pennsylvania’s CHIP program is recognized as a national model for children’s health coverage, some levels of CHIP coverage did not meet the minimum essential coverage standards. As a result, some Pennsylvania families faced a tax penalty if they kept their CHIP coverage instead of purchasing coverage in the health insurance marketplace.

“Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children had urged the commonwealth to work with both the federal government and CHIP insurers to make sure all CHIP coverage meets federal standards, so we’re pleased to hear they have agreed to make that happen by the end of 2015,” Benso said.

Last week, the commonwealth announced that families of more than 3,600 children enrolled in CHIP would receive an additional two months - until April 15 - to enroll their children in an insurance program that meets federal standards without fear of a tax penalty. Today’s announcement extends that deadline. These affected families represent about 2.5 percent of the 147,464 Pennsylvania children enrolled in CHIP.

“The deadline extension and collaborative efforts to revise CHIP coverage to meet federal minimum essential coverage standards are solid steps toward ensuring all Pennsylvania children have robust health care coverage that contributes to their overall well-being,” Benso said. “This shows what can happen when we all work together with the best interests of our children in mind.”

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