Children visiting Santa this year in Delaware County may also get a flier explaining the benefits of Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program. That’s one of the many ways the county is reaching out to the parents of nearly 10,000 uninsured kids.
The county has seen a slight drop in enrollment over the past three months.
Jack Whelan, chairman of the Delaware County Council, said state funding has been cut for education and outreach programs, which may have caused the decline in enrollment. He wants to take this time to re-energize the community about CHIP.
“It was a combination of having that number jump a little bit, having the holidays before us and saying why don’t we reach out during the holidays and say to the parents, you can give your child the greatest gift of all, the gift of health and insurance,” said Whelan.
CHIP offers free or low-cost coverage to Pennsylvania families. No family makes too much money to qualify, but only those under 19 can get the benefits.
Michael Brady, president of the county Chamber of Commerce, said small businesses are hit hardest with health-insurance costs. And not enough people know about the assistance, he added.
“It’s a lack of knowledge. There are these great resources out here to help people, but a lot of times when people fall on tough times, they tend to operate in a vacuum and not look out there to see what’s available for help.”
CHIP became available in Pennsylvania in 1992. Almost 193,000 children are now enrolled.