Purchasing health insurance is very different than it used to be, and it is difficult for many families to find a cost-effective option for the whole family. To ensure that children are able to get the medical care they need, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was created in 1997. It was the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded health insurance coverage for children in the U.S. since Medicaid was created in 1965. Today, CHIP serves more than 8 million kids across the US.

CHIP provides federally-backed health insurance for children in families whose incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid, but not high enough to afford health insurance. In the 32 states that have recently expanded Medicaid coverage, federal funds have extended to CHIP as well, allowing more uninsured children than ever before to receive coverage through the program.

Who Is Eligible for CHIP?

Uninsured children up to the age of 19 are eligible for coverage under CHIP. In some states,CHIP also covers pregnant women.  You must be a U.S. citizen, a US national, a permanent resident, or a legal immigrant to qualify for CHIP.  Regardless of your citizenship status, income restrictions require that your household income not exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).  

What Does CHIP Cover?

CHIP offers coverage that is similar to Medicaid, including dental visits, eye exams, annual check-ups, hospital visits, medical supplies, and treatment for special needs as well as pre-existing conditions. Additionally, ACA provisions make preventive care free for CHIP enrollees.

How Do You Apply for CHIP?

Unlike insurance through the Marketplace, you can apply for CHIP any time during the year. There are a few ways you can apply:

CHIP is a cost-effective insurance program backed by states and the federal government that ensures that children have access to the medical care they need. If you earn too much for Medicaid, but not enough to insure your children, if could be a great option for your family.

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