About 700 West Virginia children without health insurance would be eligible for state health coverage, under a new plan supported by Governor Joe Manchin.

The plan would provide coverage to some children not covered by CHIPS.

The West Virginia Children's Health Insurance Board today approved a financial plan that would expand coverage to families earning up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level, or roughly $53,000 for a family of four.

The plan is being submitted to the Centers of Medicaid and Medicare Services, who have already pre-approved the plan.

It could take effect in January.

CHIPS currently covers about 24,000 children in West Virginia. Its projected budget for the fiscal year just concluded was $50.3 million dollars, with about 80 percent of that coming from the federal government.

About five percent of West Virginia children, or roughly 19,000, have no form of health insurance.

In the US, about 50 million people have no insurance, with millions more having poor coverage, while fewer employers are providing health benefits.

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