PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There are a lot of reasons a child might not be covered by health insurance.
That's where Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program steps in. Any child or teenager who is not eligible for medical assistance can enroll. But a technical glitch is leaving some kids without coverage and parents with a lot of anxiety.
Melissa Gladde said it's stressful worrying about your kid. That's why she sent KDKA-TV her Facebook post about her son's health insurance hang up, saying, "He's stuck in an IT nightmare."
"Lost in this glitch and no one could tell me how, who was going to get him out of this glitch," she said. "And I'm thinking, 'Ok, I'm on a deadline. I got soccer starting really soon. I need insurance for my son. Get him out of this glitch.'"
Her 14-year-old son, Ethan, was about to wind up at a soccer camp without health insurance.
"I already had an appointment for his sports physical to get him in, and I'm like, what am I gonna do? He has no insurance. Do I cancel the appointment? Do I take him to med express?" she said.
She said no one gave her answers, but they did give out different phone numbers.
"They sent me to the governor's phone number, and I called them, and they sent me to another phone number," Gladde said. "And then they sent me to another phone number, which actually set me back to CHIP."
KDKA-TV reached out to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and gave officials Gladde's information. The department said it would escalate her application.
But KDKA-TV learned this Butler family is far from alone. The state DHS said in April when it tried to merge the CHIP program into the state's new eligibility system Compass, hoping to streamline the benefits for families, it did the opposite for some.
More than 7,000,00 individuals were enrolled in CHIP in July 2022. Since February 2020, CHIP enrollment has increased by 318,229 individuals.
Gladde got word Friday that caseworkers pushed her son's application through, so he's covered for soccer camp.
"So that is good. But my thing is, what about all the other kids in Pa.?" she said.
The state declined to say how many other kids' applications are stuck with enrollment hanging in limbo, but coverage can be retroactive in case something bad happens when your kid's uninsured in that window of time you're waiting to hear good news.
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