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Iowa Gov. Signs Bill That Extends Health Insurance Coverage to More Children

Iowa Gov. Signs Bill That Extends Health Insurance Coverage to More Children

     Iowa Gov. Chet Culver (D) on Tuesday signed into law a health care bill (SF 389) that among other provisions increases income eligibility for Hawk-I, the state's CHIP program, from 250% to 300% of the federal poverty level, the Des Moines Register reports. The law requires parents to enroll children who are eligible but does not impose any immediate penalty for failing to do so.

The law also includes provisions to give state administrators more flexibility to subsidize private health insurance premiums for families who qualify for public insurance and to streamline eligibility requirements for public insurance programs. In addition, the bill allows children in families with moderate incomes to receive dental coverage through Hawk-I, even if they have a private health plan (Leys, Des Moines Register, 5/19).

The state will spend $5.7 million on the expansion and another $2 million on dental coverage (AP/Omaha World-Herald, 5/19).

Efforts are under way to identify uninsured children who are eligible for state programs, such as through a question on state income tax forms (Des Moines Register, 5/19). State Sen. Jack Hatch (D) said lawmakers next year will examine ways to expand coverage for adults and improve mental health coverage (AP/Omaha World-Herald, 5/19).

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