Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today announced, pending federal approval, dependents of West Virginia state government employees will be eligible to apply for health insurance coverage with the West Virginia Children's Health Insurance Program (WVCHIP). Previously, these individuals were not eligible to apply for WVCHIP due to the federal program's eligibility restrictions.
"The good health of our children is of the utmost importance," Gov. Tomblin said. "Through this opportunity, we are seeking to protect and improve our children's quality of life and future by providing a more affordable insurance option for their families."
"I have a long-standing, deeply held conviction -- reaching back to my days as a VISTA volunteer in Emmons -- that making health coverage a reality for all of West Virginia's children is a moral imperative," Sen. Jay Rockefeller said, "That's why, as one of the original authors of CHIP, I couldn't be happier that more children across West Virginia will now have access to this life-saving program. The CHIP program makes a difference in the lives of millions of vulnerable children in America, by giving them chance to start out life healthy and reach their full potential."
On September 1, 2013, the WVCHIP agency will notify the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of its intent to submit an amended state plan authorizing enrollment of public employees' children into WVCHIP. The CMS approval process is anticipated to begin in October with authorization anticipated by January 1, 2014. If approved, eligible PEIA members can explore this new option during open enrollment with WVCHIP coverage to begin July 1, 2014.
The Affordable Care Act changed federal CHIP eligibility requirements enabling WVCHIP to consider enrolling qualified dependents of state employees, who currently receive coverage under the WV Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA). If approved by CMS, the WVCHIP insurance would offer more affordable coverage and enhanced benefits for qualified children of state employees than PEIA currently does.
To qualify for WVCHIP, dependents of state employees must meet certain income guidelines. To learn more visit www.chip.wv.gov.