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Employer Responsibilities for Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA)

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Employer Responsibilities for Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA)

Published: December 7, 2010

Since taking office
President Obama has initiated a number of laws impacting the healthcare system
in America
and the responsibilities of employers to employees.

This article focuses on the
Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA), a law aiming
to improve access to health care for children across the country, signed into
effect by President Obama on April 1, 2009.
CHIPRA requires businesses to inform employees of health care assistance
opportunities that are available in their state. Read on to understand your requirements as an
employer.

Background

CHIPRA is an extension of
the 1997 law, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP was enacted
to help states provide uninsured children with health care coverage, and to
date has impacted over 5 million of the nation's uninsured children.

CHIP was reauthorized on
February 4, 2009, when President Obama signed into law the Children's Health
Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA), which ensures financing
for CHIP through fiscal year 2013.

Information for Employers

Included in CHIPRA is a requirement
mandating employers to inform their employees of health care premium assistance
opportunities currently available in their state.

To assist employers in
developing the appropriate language for these notices, the Department of Labor provides
what is called a
which includes the language employers will need to share with employees.

The notices are also required
to include information on how an employee may contact the State in which the
employee resides for additional information regarding potential opportunities
for premium assistance, including how to apply for such assistance.

An English text version and
a Spanish text version
of the CHIPRA model notice is available through the Department of Labo-s
Employee Benefits Security Administration.

As of January 22, 2010, the
Department of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with State Medicaid
and CHIP offices, listed 40 states as having one or more programs requiring the
distribution of CHIPRA model notices:

  • Alabama,
    Alaska Arizona Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana,
    Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri,
    Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York,
    North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,
    South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia,
    Wisconsin, Wyoming
    .*

However, regardless of the
employer's location, if a group health plan provides benefits for medical care
or through insurance or reimbursement to employees, beneficiaries, or providers
in any of the states listed above, you are required to provide the Employer
CHIP Notice.

Consider the following illustration
provided by the Federal Register:

  • An employer located in the District
    of Columbia sponsors a group health plan that provides
    reimbursement for medical care to plan participants or beneficiaries living
    in the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland,
    West Virginia, Delaware,
    and Pennsylvania.
  • Even though the employer is located in the District of Columbia,
    where the CHIPRA model notices are not required, the plan is considered
    maintained in all six states where the employees are living so the employer
    is subject to the Employer CHIP Notice requirement.

Employers were required to
begin providing these notices by the first day of the first plan year after
Feb. 4, 2010, or May 1, 2010.

  • Accordingly, for plan years beginning from Feb.
    4, 2010, through April 30, 2010, the Employer CHIP Notice must be provided
    by May 1, 2010.
  • For employers whose next plan year begins on or
    after May 1, 2010, the Employer CHIP Notice must be provided by the first
    day of the next plan year (Jan. 1, 2011, for calendar-year plans).

The DOL plans to update the
notice annually, with current information about which states are providing
premium assistance programs. If you have additional question talk with an
expert
at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Additional Resources

  • *Employers should check with their stat's department of labor
    for the most accurate/timely information about their local requirements.

About the Author:

Sarah Millican
I'm a digital strategy consultant with ENC Strategy (www.encstrategy.com) and work full-time to support the Small Business Administration in growing and developing this online community to the best that it can be.

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