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But half of uninsured Texas children eligible right now for CHIP and Medicaid
Houston, Texas – Provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that were meant to curb the worst excesses of the insurance industry take effect on September 23, 2010. In a last-minute decision announced earlier today, some national insurers will stop offering child-only health policies until 2014. In response, Dr. Laura Guerra-Cardus, Interim Executive Director of Children's Defense Fund-Texas, released the following statement:
"Federal provisions require that, starting today, children who are sick no longer be denied health coverage by their family’s health plan. Parents can also keep their children on the family health insurance plans through age 26, and new insurance plans must provide free preventive care, so insurance is more about keeping kids and families healthy, rather than only fixing problems after they arise.
"While sick children will still be able to get on their parent’s insurance plan, what some health insurers have done is limit sick children’s access to important, life-saving medical care by announcing today they will stop offering child-only policies until 2014, when federal law will require it. We are extremely disappointed by this decision, and are certain it will not go unchallenged. Parents will still be able to take advantage of dependent coverage provisions during their next employee benefits open enrollment period, despite today’s announcement by insurers.
"Today's federal requirements are designed to help roughly 1 million young Texans continue to have access to quality health care until they can find a job where they are offered insurance benefits of their own, and an estimated 270,000 Texas children who have, until now, been at risk of being denied health coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
"Health reform also maintained and strengthened the CHIP and Medicaid programs by ensuring that CHIP continues through at least 2019 and Medicaid benefits for children are protected. Texas has the highest rate of uninsured children in the nation. These reforms – and others that will follow – will help many of those children and young adults have a better chance to see a doctor and get the care they need.
"Some families will see these benefits right away, for others they will be phased in over the next three years. But half of uninsured kids (more than 700,000) here in Texas don’t have to wait another day, because they’re already eligible for Medicaid and CHIP coverage. Their parents may not know they qualify, or they may have trouble navigating the enrollment system. We can all play a part in connecting these kids to the health coverage they need to grow and thrive. Visit www.cdftexas.org to learn how you can help."