The Clarion-Ledger, 12/30/8

A legislative watchdog agency is recommending Mississippi accept new proposals from companies interested in overseeing a children’s health-care program when a contract with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi ends in 2009.

The recommendation was made public Monday in a Legislature’s Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review Committee report on the administration of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, also called CHIP.

The federal-state program was created a decade ago to subsidize health coverage for families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford their own private insurance.

The state exercised an option that extended Blue Cross-Blue Shield’s contract as the health program’s insurer through 2009.