Pennsylvania Considers Universal Children’s Health Insurance
Pennsylvania lawmakers have agreed to pass a bill by October that would expand health care coverage to all children in the state, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Under a plan by Gov. Ed Rendell (D), called Cover All Kids, children younger than 18 years old would receive health care coverage regardless of income, with premiums determined on a sliding scale.
A family of four with an income of $70,000 annually would pay premiums ranging from $20 to $35 for coverage through an insurance provider such as Independence Blue Cross or Aetna. Families with higher incomes would pay about $145 per month.
The plan would provide coverage for dental and vision care, emergency department care, prescription drugs, hospital and home care, mental health treatment and some other services.
The program will cost the state an estimated $4.4 million in the first year, in addition to $10 million in federal funding. In the fifth year, the program is expected to cost the state $50 million.
The program would enroll 15,000 children in 2007 and add 75,000 more children within five years (Sullivan, Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/11).