(08/15/2009)
Few West Virginia families have applied for the recently expanded CHIPS insurance.

A large number of Calhoun families are eligible for the program.

State officials believe publicity has been lacking regarding the expansion.

West Virginia is one of 13 states that has invested additional money to cover uninsured children this year.

The state expanded its eligibility requirements for CHIP at the beginning of the year, increasing the upper income limit for participation from 220 percent to 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

Under the new levels, a family of two can earn up to $35,000. The ceiling for a family of five is $62,000.

At the end of June, the state provided CHIP coverage for 24,555 children.

"We want to make sure people realize their children can be covered because the eligibility levels increased," said spokeswoman Diane Holley.

The program was created in 1997 to cover uninsured children in families with incomes that are modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid.


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