DHHR won’t pursue health insurance program for children

BRIDGEPORT – Officials with the Department of Health and Human Resources say they will not push to put the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as C.H.I.P., under the department.

But officials also said they work well with the program and the two would form a natural fit.

Jeremiah Samples with the Department of Health and Human Resources, presented information Wednesday on the program to the Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Resources Accountability.

Last year legislators proposed moving C.H.I.P. from under the state Department of Administration to under Health and Human Resources. The bill ultimately stalled in committee and never came up for a full vote.

Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, said officials were continuing to evaluate the possible move.

The idea “was based on the Public Works article which was trying to provide better service, streamlined at hopefully a better cost,” Stollings said. “This is just an ongoing look at the subject. It could potentially be an interim bill.”

Samples said the department and C.H.I.P. already share information and some services, such as using the department’s online portal for those applying to the program. Under the Affordable Care Act thousands of children are being moved from C.H.I.P. to Medicaid, which falls under the department. Samples said most state’s already combine their C.H.I.P. and Medicaid programs.

But Samples said the department is not taking a position, either for or opposed to bringing C.H.I.P. under the department umbrella.

“While there are benefits in our perspective to being under the same umbrella, we will continue to work with C.H.I.P. regardless,” he said. “We really defer to the policy makers on what is the best course.”