House Approves Owlett Bill to Help with Medical Assistance Costs
HARRISBURG – Legislation to clarify that private insurance – rather than taxpayer-funded Medical Assistance – must be used, if available, to cover a child’s health care needs earned approval Tuesday by the state House, said Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter), prime sponsor of the measure.

House Bill 398 would require all applicants and recipients of state-funded health care assistance to cooperate with the Department of Human Services (DHS) in securing medical support through private insurance from a noncustodial parent when available.

“While we take seriously our responsibility to ensure kids have access to health care coverage, we also take seriously our responsibility to the taxpayers who foot the bill when those kids receive state-funded coverage,” Owlett said. “When a private insurance option is available, we need to ensure it is being used. By doing that, we also ensure there are sufficient funds available to help those kids who do not have any other options for health care coverage.”

Owlett noted a number of exceptions in the bill to protect the health and safety of the custodial parent and the child. For example, the measure would not apply if the custodial parent is a victim of domestic violence perpetrated by the noncustodial parent, or if the child’s continuity of medical care would be interrupted. The law would also not interfere with or delay providing Medical Assistance benefits to a child while the availability of private insurance is assessed by DHS.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Clint Owlett
68th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Patricia Hippler