Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 828
By: Gray
Public Health


Nearly 600,000 low-income Texas children are eligible for health insurance
under Medicaid, but remain unenrolled. The Texas Medicaid program creates
many barriers for families seeking to obtain health coverage for their
children, including requiring families to come in for a face-to-face
interview and requiring the completion of multiple forms and verifications.
A family must also qualify under a restrictive assets test which
disqualifies any family with over $2,000 in assets, excluding a home and
one car. This means that families with two working parents sometimes have
to choose between health care for their children and having a second car to
drive to work. The state child health plan (CHIP) provides insurance for
children in families that make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but
who cannot afford other private insurance options. The CHIP application and
enrollment process has none of the barriers of the Medicaid program and the
amount of family assets is not considered in determining the suitability of
an application for CHIP. House Bill 828 eliminates both the face-to-face
interview and assets test as criteria for a child's Medicaid application
and recertification process to make the process similar to the process used
by CHIP. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill
expressly delegates rulemaking authority to the Health and Human Services
Commission in SECTION 2 (Section 32.026, Human Resources Code) of this


House Bill 828 amends the Human Resources Code relating to the application
to and eligibility for Medicaid for a person younger than 19 years of age
(child). H.B. 828 requires the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC)
to adopt, to the extent allowed by federal law, application forms and
procedures for a request for medical assistance provided to a child that
are similar to application forms and procedures adopted under the state
child health plan (CHIP).  The bill requires HHSC  to permit an application
requesting medical assistance for a child to be made by mail rather than
through a personal appearance at an HHSC office. In adopting rules, HHSC is
required to ensure, to the extent allowed by federal law, that
documentation and verification procedures used in determining and
certifying a child's eligibility and need for medical assistance are
similar to the documentation and verification procedures used to determine
a child's eligibility for CHIP. The bill also requires HHSC to permit a
recertification review of the child's eligibility and need for medical
assistance to be conducted by telephone or mail instead of in person.  The
bill prohibits HHSC from considering the assets and resources of a child or
the assets and resources of the child's parents or other caretaker for
purposes of determining the child's eligibility for medical assistance.