NEW JERSEY: Assembly Passes CHIP Expansion Bill Trio
Following the lead of the state Senate, the New Jersey Assembly yesterday "overwhelmingly" passed three bills to boost enrollment in KidCare, the state's CHIP. The program currently provides free health coverage to families with incomes at or below 150% of the federal poverty level, and insurance at $15 per month for families earning 200% or less. The Assembly passed S-1758, which would authorize the state Department of Human Services to expand KidCare to families earning up to 350% of the federal poverty level for a small premium, beginning July 1. Another bill, S-1756, would authorize hospitals to "instantly enroll any eligible children who are brought in for emergency treatment so KidCare can cover the hospital bill." S-1757 provides a $25 incentive to schools, day care centers and health clinics for each eligible child they help enroll. Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R) said the changes could extend coverage to another 60,000 children. But an Assembly sponsor, Assemblyman Sam Thompson (R), said that "the numbers are not clear." Only 33,000 children are currently enrolled in the program. The AP/Trenton Times reports that the Assembly put on hold another bill passed by the Senate -- A-2950 -- which "would permit families struggling with the high cost of individual insurance coverage to enroll their children in KidCare" (6/15).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.