Children’s health insurance program is a program that provides low-cost health coverage to children in a family with an income that is modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid or families that earn too much money but not enough to buy private insurance.

Children Health Insurance Program, formally known as State Children Insurance Program (SCHIP), was passed into law as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The statutory authority for CHIP is under the title; xxi of the Social Security Act.

Children Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was formulated in the aftermath of President Bill Clinton’s comprehensive health care proposal legislation, CHIP was co-sponsored by democratic senator Ted Kennedy, Republican senator Orrin Hatch and support from first lady Hilary Clinton.

Despite opposition from conservatives, CHIP was included in the balanced budget Act of 1997, signed into law by President Clinton in August 1997.

When it was created, since the establishment of Medicaid in 1965, it presented the most significant expansion of taxpaying funded health insurance coverage for children in the U.S.

CHIP was designed as both federal and state partnerships similar to Medicaid, and individual states run programs by the requirements of the federal centers for medicare and Medicaid services.

States can design their CHIP policy within the broad federal guidelines resulting in variation regarding eligibility, benefits, and administrations in different states.

Many states contract with private companies for administrative parts of their CHIP benefits. This program covered over 7.6 million children during the federal fiscal year 2010, and every state had an approved plan.

However, the number of uninsured children continued to rise after 1997, mostly among families that didn’t qualify for CHIP.

A study from researchers at Brigham young university and Arizona State in 2017 found that children who drop out of CHIP cost their state more money due to increased use of emergency care.

A survey of existing research in 2010 states that the availability of CHIP coverage to children led to improvement in health care and health over the short and long run.

President Obama, 2009 signed the Children Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act extending CHIP additional two years from 2013 to 2015.

In 2015, congress reauthorized the law, among other provisions, the extended the reauthorization of the federal CHIP by another two years through September 30, 2017.

Congress passed a six-year extension in January 2018. They extended the program by another four years after the Congressional Budget Office released a report stating a ten years extension would save $6billion.

There’s a high level of variation in CHIP coverage for pregnant women by covering prenatal checkups and other services until the child is born. CHIP programs differ from state to state.

Federal law entitles states to choose from three different program designs for their CHIP program.

  • The separate CHIP program model allows states to design their program within the statute of the CHIP program.
  • The Medicaid expansion program model allows states to cover CHIP-eligible children through the Medicaid program.
  • The combination CHIP program model allows states to use the separate CHIP and Medicaid expansion model.

Benefits of CHIP

Although some could vary from state to state, the benefits are relatively standard. According to its website, CHIP benefits include;

  • Routine checkups
  • Immunization
  • Doctor visit
  • Prescription
  • Dental and vision care
  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital care
  • Laboratory and X-ray services.


Children up to 18 are eligible in most states; the income cut off hanged down on the size of the family and the state they reside. In some states, children up to 19 with a family income up to $150,000 per annual fit a daily of four may qualify.

Family income can be higher in many states and can still qualify children. Young people up to 21 years may be eligible for Medicaid. Youth aged out of foster care can be covered until they reach 26 years, and there is no income limit for such children.

Medicaid and CHIP cover U.S. citizens, and specific laws fully represent immigrants. Parent, grandparent, guardian, or other authorized persons can apply on behalf of a child.

Some states enable a teenager living alone to apply themselves, children are covered as long as they are qualified, and this coverage is renewed once a year, and you don’t have to pay more than 5% of your family income.

In addition, the following criteria for CHIP eligibility are from the center for Medicare and Medicaid website;

  • Uninsured (determined eligible for Medicaid and not covered through a group health plan or creditable health insurance)
  • A citizen or meet immigration prerequisites.
  • A resident of the state
  • Eligible within the state CHIP income range based on family income and any other state stipulated rule in the CHIP state plan.