Health insurance for kids of working poor gets $24 million boost

July 12, 2000|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON - Ending a long-running dispute, federal officials agreed this week to give Maryland $24 million to help fund a health insurance program for children of the working poor.

Maryland health officials said the money would help pay for the initiative and make it easier to add children once the program expands in July 2001.

"People have been working very hard" to obtain the money, said Dr. Georges Benjamin, secretary of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

"This will help us expand our coverage," Benjamin said.

The Children's Health Insurance Program provides benefits to about 78,000 children in Maryland who are living below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

That means that children in a family of four which is earning $34,100 a year are eligible for the insurance. The program is partially funded by the federal government and is administered by the states.

In July 2001, Maryland plans to add 19,000 children to the program by raising eligibility to 300 percent of the poverty line.

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