Medicaid & CHIP

Medicaid & CHIP coverage

When you fill out a Marketplace application, you may learn that you qualify for coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Medicaid and CHIP provide free or low-cost health coverage to millions of Americans, including some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Both programs are run jointly by federal and state governments, and details vary somewhat between states.

You qualify for these programs based on your household size, income, and other factors, like age and disability. When you fill out your application you’ll find out if you and your family qualify.

You can apply for and enroll in Medicaid or CHIP any time of year. There’s no limited enrollment period for either Medicaid or CHIP. If you qualify, your coverage can begin immediately.

Medicaid

  • In all states, Medicaid provides free or low-cost care for some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
  • In some states the program covers all adults below a certain income level.
  • Medicaid programs must follow federal guidelines, but coverage and costs may be different from state to state. Some Medicaid programs pay for your care directly. Others use private insurance companies to provide Medicaid coverage.

Learn how to apply for Medicaid coverage.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

  • In all states, CHIP provides low-cost health coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid. In some states, CHIP covers parents and pregnant women.
  • Each state works closely with its state Medicaid program.
  • In many cases, if you qualify for Medicaid your children will qualify for either Medicaid or CHIP.

Learn how to apply for CHIP coverage.

If you have Medicaid or CHIP coverage, you’re considered covered under the health care law. You don’t have to buy a Marketplace insurance plan. You also don’t have to pay the fee that people without health coverage must pay.