PEIA is funded through state or local governments and program participants. CHIP is funded mostly through the federal government and a smaller portion is paid by the state and participants.
The federal government currently pays 80 percent of the cost of every West Virginia CHIP participant. That rate will increase to 100 percent in 2016.
The local and state share for a CHIP participant is $32.36 a month, compared to $95.84 a month for PEIA.
The cost to participants is also lower for CHIP members. PEIA members pay $49.50 a month, whereas CHIP participants only pay $4.69 a month for health insurance.
CHIP director Sharon Carte, who spoke about expansion to the PEIA board in March, supports the idea, Merritt said. Carte was not available for comment Wednesday.
Expanding CHIP to public employees also has union support. UE Local 170, the state public workers union, released a statement Wednesday calling on Tomblin to request federal approval to expand CHIP coverage to eligible children of West Virginia public workers.
"This is a win-win for the state and its hard-working public employees, who haven't received a wage increase in years and are living paycheck to paycheck," Donna Morgan, UE Local 170 president, said in a written statement. "At a time when the state is having a difficult time balancing its budget, why wouldn't it want to save millions of dollars by expanding CHIP coverage to public employees?" she said.
Read the entire report here.
Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.