Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
CHIP covers children whose families don’t qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford to buy health insurance. Learn more about the program here.
CHIP provides low-cost health insurance coverage for children in families who earn too much income to qualify for Medicaid coverage but can’t afford to purchase private health insurance. CHIP is a state and federal partnership program that works closely with Medicaid.
Every state operates a CHIP, although most states have unique names for their programs like Child Health Plus (New York), Healthy Families (California), and Hoosier Healthwise (Indiana). In several states, CHIP and Medicaid are combined into one program.
Here are some CHIP basics:
- Basic eligibility for CHIP: Children up to age 19 in families with incomes up to $45,000 per year (for a family of four) are likely to be eligible for coverage. In many states, children in families with higher incomes can also qualify.
- Eligibility and pregnancy: Pregnant women may be eligible for CHIP. Coverage for expectant mothers generally includes lab testing and labor and delivery costs, and at least 60 days of care after delivery.
- Citizenship and immigration status: CHIP covers U.S. citizens and certain legal immigrants. States have the option of covering children and pregnant women who are lawfully residing in the United States. Undocumented immigrants aren’t eligible for CHIP.
Health insurance through CHIP is designed to be affordable for families.
Routine “well child” doctor visits are provided free of charge, but there may be copayments for certain other services. Many states also charge a monthly premium for coverage. The costs you’ll be responsible for under CHIP are different in each state, but cannot be more than 5% of your family’s income each month.
The benefits covered through CHIP are different in each state, but all states are required to cover these services:
- Routine check-ups
- Dental and vision care
- Inpatient and outpatient hospital care
- Laboratory and X-ray services