CHIP: Plans to Use ‘One Simple Form’
In an effort to reduce the number of America's uninsured children, federal officials are proposing a new one-form system to be used nationwide, the AP/Washington Post reports. Announcing the plan yesterday, HHS officials would provide states with one standard form, which would be given to employers who offer dependent health coverage. After noncustodial parents receive court orders to enroll their child under their employer's health insurance, the employers would be required to forward the forms to insurers. The Department of Labor plans to oversee the regulated plans, ensuring that they actually enroll the eligible children once the forms have been completed. Currently only one-third of the roughly 4 million noncustodial parents have their children listed on employer-sponsored health care plans, despite court orders. Frustrated that available private insurance is not used, HHS Secretary Donna Shalala hopes this "simple standard means to obtain health insurance" will increase parental compliance. Center for Law and Social Policy representative Paula Roberts notes, "Individual health plans and insurers and providers all have their own idea what information they want before they'll put [children] on the (health insurance) plan. It just takes forever. This [new form] tells the insurer: You have no discretion here." Officials are optimistic about the success of this new plan as it was developed with input from employers and insurance companies. Meanwhile, a group of experts is developing a health care strategy for children whose parents do not have employer-based health coverage; the experts are trying to encourage parents to enroll eligible kids into the Medicaid or CHIP programs, which typically maintain far fewer enrolles than are eligible (Meckler, 11/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.