Apr. 26, 2022

HARRISBURG – The House Health Committee has approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) to clarify that private insurance instead of taxpayer-funded Medical Assistance must be used, if available, to cover a child’s health care needs.

House Bill 398 would amend the Human Services Code to 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.

“We absolutely want to ensure every child has access to the health care services they need,” Owlett said. “In fact, that’s all the more reason to support this bill. To make sure we have the funding necessary to help folks in need, we have to make sure anyone who is able to receive coverage from private insurance is doing so.”

Owlett stressed there are exceptions to 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 full House for consideration.

Representative Clint Owlett
68th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Patricia Hippler