House Representative

Coleman, Garnet F.


Rep. Coleman: Over 17,000 Children Lose CHIP Coverage for May

~ "Red tape rules" adopted by HHSC directly cause children that lost CHIP coverage ~

(Houston)//--State Representative Garnet F. Coleman (Houston) announced that the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) announced that 17,078 fewer children will be covered by the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in May than in April. According to the HHSC, many of the families have lost coverage due to "red tape rules" adopted by HHSC.

"Until we pass the CHIP bill and until we require HHSC to eliminate it's 'red tape rules,' the state of Texas will continue to unfairly deny health coverage for children," Rep. Coleman said. "We have to do both. The CHIP bill fixes state laws that deny access to CHIP, but the 'red tape rules' also deny access to CHIP."

"I passed a rider on the budget that would have fixed the 'red tape rules' adopted by HHSC. Unless that rider stays on the budget, eligible children will continue to lose CHIP coverage."

According to an e-mail from the HHSC announcing the enrollment decline, the majority of children lost coverage because of the 'red tape rules' the Commission has adopted. As stated in an e-mail sent to Rep. Coleman's office Thursday, May 3:

"Many of the families up for renewal this month had received an automatic extension of their coverage…HHSC granted the automatic extensions in response to an issue involving the vendor's ability to properly identify when an application was missing information necessary to determine if the family qualified for the program. …HHSC stopped granting the automatic extensions late last year. This has caused a decrease in the renewal rate."

"The Health and Human Services Commission admitted their vendors could not properly process CHIP applications," Rep. Coleman said. "Previously, their rules did not punish children for their administrative failings. But HHSC changed those rules, and as they stated, 'this has caused a decrease in the renewal rate.' No one can question that these 'red tape rules' are directly causing children to lose their CHIP coverage."

Contact: Phillip Martin
(512) 463-0524