DARS Seeks Recommendations at Public Hearings on ECI Family Cost Share
The Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECI) is reviewing its family cost-share policies due to implementation challenges such as increasing need, limited funding, and changes in community resources for families.
Family cost share is a fee paid by families for certain DARS/ECI services when private or public insurance does not pay. The fee is based on a sliding scale and determined by the family’s income and other factors.
DARS/ECI is soliciting early public input regarding revising policy for how families help pay for these services. Any changes in family cost share for DARS/ECI services should be equitable, consistent, and cost effective. All areas of family cost share are open for input; however, specific topics for comment include:
- Collecting co-pays, deductibles, and/or co-insurance as required by insurance plans when billing insurance for services.
- Eliminating the option for a six-month waiver that allows DARS/ECI programs to waive family cost-share fees if the family consents to allow their private insurance to be billed. Input is requested on other methods to encourage the use of private insurance and other alternative health payment methods.
- Revising the sliding scale family cost-share system to:
- Require verification of income if family wants to qualify for the sliding-scale fee;
- Simplify the sliding-scale fee by reducing the number of categories;
- Change the sliding-scale fee from a monthly fee to a per-service fee.
To facilitate widespread public participation, DARS/ECI will hold hearings around the state, and members of the public also may submit comments in writing.
All hearings will be held from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Persons requiring special accommodations should call the DARS Inquiries Line at 1-800-628-5115, TDD/TTY 1-866-581-9328, or email their request to DARS.Inquiries@dars.state.tx.us at least 72 hours before the public hearing. Hearing dates and locations are:
November 9, 2009
Garland ISD Special Events Center
4999 Naaman Forest Blvd.
November 10, 2009
Morton Ranch High School
2100 Franz Road
November 12, 2009
Lubbock ISD Administration Offices East Building
Jay Gordon Room
1628 19th St.
November 13, 2009
Stephen F. Austin University
Multi-Media Room #2.106
1936 North St.
November 16, 2009
Corpus Christi, Texas
Education Service Center Region 2
209 North Water St.
Corpus Christi, Texas
Written comments may be emailed by November 30, 2009, to ECI.Policy@dars.state.tx.us or mailed to:
Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services
Division for Early Childhood Intervention Services
4900 N. Lamar, MC 3029
Austin, Texas 78751-2399
The links listed below provide additional information regarding Family Cost Share.