CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia officials have started a process that could end with the children of state employees being eligible for health insurance coverage from the West Virginia Children’s Health Insurance Program (WVCHIP).

Currently, dependents of state government employees are covered through the Public Employees Insurance Agency.  They are not eligible to apply for CHIP because of the federal program’s eligibility restrictions.

The Affordable Care Act lifts some of those restrictions, but there are several steps that will have to be cleared before state workers, who meet certain income guidelines, can start enrolling their kids in CHIP.

“As we all know, health care costs have just gone up and up and, as PEIA has struggled to manage its costs, a number of employees have had to bear with higher cost sharing, so that would be a lot less with CHIP,” said CHIP Executive Director Sharon Carte.

“This can really help some of those families once they are paying employee only premiums to PEIA.”  Carte said CHIP coverage comes with no deductibles and dental coverage that PEIA does not provide.

Next week, WVCHIP will notify the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the intent to submit an amended state plan authorizing enrollment of public employees’ children in WVCHIP.

The CMS would then launch the approval process in October with authorization expected by January 2014.  If approved, the kids of state workers could be getting WVCHIP coverage by July 1, 2014.

Carte was a guest on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

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  • tracyo64

    It's sad that so many state employees live below the poverty level and qualify for food stamps and medical cards. But if you plant flowers or run a weedeater on a piece of federal property, they have to pay you "prevailing wages". Go figure.