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Pediatric Vision Care Initiatives

POA-CHIP Partnership



POA and CHIP: Partnership for children’s vision care

Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)Through POA’s Kids Welcome Here® campaign, we are always looking for opportunities to educate the public about the importance of eye exams for children before and during their school years.

With that goal in mind, POA actively worked with the Governor’s Office to make sure that eye care was included in the Governor’s Cover All Kids Initiative that was implemented in the Spring of 2007. The initiative resulted in the expansion of Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, so that CHIP now covers all uninsured children up through age 19, regardless of family income. Through this process, the Governor’s Office reaffirmed the inclusion of vision coverage through CHIP.

While families may know that CHIP offers coverage for doctor visits and hospital care, they may not be aware that CHIP also covers vision care. To bridge that gap, POA has partnered with CHIP to spread the word about the program’s expansion and, equally important, the eye care benefits.

CHIP has developed a new brochure created specifically for optometrists that highlights the vision care benefit. A sample of the brochure was distributed to members along with a letter cosigned by POA President Dr. Barbara Yanak and George L. Hoover, deputy insurance commissioner at the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, during CHIP’s Cover the Uninsured Week, April 23-29, 2007.

POA is pleased to be collaborating with CHIP and the Insurance Department, and we encourage our members to participate in this outreach effort. If you are interested in ordering quantities of this brochure as well as other CHIP educational materials like posters and applications for your office (English and Spanish versions are available), please contact the CHIP Helpline at (800) 986-KIDS. Please feel free to display them in high-traffic and family areas in your office and share this information with anyone who might inquire about health care coverage.

You can also visit the CHIP Web site for more information.

Frequently asked questions

  • Do I have to sign up to participate in CHIP?
    No. Doctors sign up to participate in individual medical and vision insurance plans as appropriate for their practice situations. CHIP coverage is provided through the individual plans, and doctors will be paid directly by the plans and their vision sub-contractors.

  • What health insurance companies offer CHIP medical coverage?
    Health insurance companies providing CHIP medical coverage are Aetna, AmeriChoice, Capital Blue Cross, First Priority Health (BCNEPA), Highmark Blue Shield (Central PA), Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield (Western PA), Keystone Health Plan East (IBC), Unison Kids and UPMC for Kids.

  • What vision sub-contractors are used by CHIP’s medical insurance companies?
    Vision sub-contractors are Davis, NVA, Cole, Spectra and Doral.

  • Will a child be identified as being covered by CHIP?
    No, children will have an insurance card for whatever medical or vision insurance plan is administering their benefits. There will be no special CHIP identifier.

  • Can families with medical health insurance but no vision insurance apply to CHIP for the vision benefits?
    No. Children must have no health benefits of any kind in order to be covered by CHIP. They cannot simply sign up for the vision benefit.