What is the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)?

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was a 1997 bipartisan effort to help lower the rates of uninsured children in the United States, which was at 14% at the time. CHIP currently provides low-cost, quality health insurance coverage to than roughly 8.9 million children and teens in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but for whom employer-based or private coverage is unavailable, unaffordable, or inadequate.

Some families of children with disabilities who do not qualify for Medicaid may instead be utilizing CHIP. However, the exact number of children with disabilities and other chronic health conditions that benefit from the program is unknown.  

CHIP is structured as a block grant, which means that states are provided with a set amount of federal matching dollars, regardless of enrollment, to fund their state’s individual CHIP program. When states exceed this federal allotment, they are then required to cover any potential additional costs. This means that many of the details of the program are state specific.

Additional Resources 

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), 2016 Data 

12 of the most important things in Congress’s massive spending deal, The Washington Post 02/08/18

Summary of the 2018 CHIP Funding Extension, Kaiser Family Foundation 01/24/18

CHIP Funding Has Been Extended, What’s Next For Children’s Health Coverage?, HealthAffairs 01/30/18

CHIP is finally getting funded — after 114 days without a budget, Vox 01/22/18

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