The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a national program that provides children with the health care coverage they need. Medical insurance is expensive, and this is especially true for adults who need to insure themselves as well as their children. For households that can’t afford private health care, CHIP serves as a cost-efficient public option.

If you want to enroll your children in CHIP insurance, there are specific requirements you need to meet. Usually, these relate to how much your family earns. Once you successfully obtain CHIP for your children, there are many different benefits they can receive. These benefits relate to everything from routine health screenings to dental care. If you have young children and can’t afford health insurance for them, find out how this healthcare option can help.

Is the Children’s Health Insurance Program the same as Medicaid?

You may be wondering about the CHIP Medicaid relationship. Many people are confused about these two programs and how they compare to each other. This is because both health insurance initiatives can provide coverage to children in low-earning families. However, these two programs aren’t the same.

When comparing these programs, it’s important to remember that Medicaid is available to adults and children. On the other hand, CHIP insurance is usually only offered to children. Some states also permit pregnant women to receive CHIP benefits.

Furthermore, keep in mind that you won’t be able to qualify for both of these programs at the same time. CHIP is generally available for children whose families earn too much to qualify them for Medicaid benefits.

Learn About CHIP Insurance Requirements

In order for children to receive CHIP health insurance coverage, their households need to meet specific program requirements. Many of these requirements are standard throughout the country, but some aspects may differ from one state to another. This is because states are in charge of their own individual CHIP programs.

In any case, you should learn about your state’s general CHIP eligibility requirements before you apply. These usually relate to:

  • Family income. CHIP benefits are only available to kids that live in households that earn a limited amount of income. Specific earning limits vary between states.
  • Age. In order to enroll in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, kids must be younger than 19 years of age.
  • Citizenship. Children are eligible for CHIP benefits if they are U.S. citizens. Qualifying immigrants who legally reside in the United States may also be eligible to enroll.


How to Apply for CHIP Health Insurance

If you want to enroll in the CHIP insurance program, you need to submit an application. You can do this either over the phone or online through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

As soon as you realize your child is eligible for benefits, you can apply. You don’t need to wait until a certain time of the year to file your application. In fact, the longer you delay, the longer it will take for your state CHIP office to determine if your child is eligible.

If you apply online, you will need to create an account. Keep in mind that this is also the site you’d need to use to apply for Medicaid. In any case, make sure that you have all the information you need with you when you apply. Otherwise, you won’t be able to complete your application, which will cause delays.

What benefits are available through CHIP insurance?

CHIP health insurance covers many different services. If your children qualify to receive benefits through this program, they can take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Annual check-ups – One of the most important benefits that comes from CHIP health insurance is the ability for your children to have regular wellness visits. This is an excellent source of preventative care, which can help you make sure your family stays healthy.
  • Prescriptions and vaccines – If your children need to obtain any immunizations or prescription drugs, they can do so through with their CHIP coverage.
  • Hospital and emergency services – CHIP covers emergency room and outpatient hospital care. This can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars if you need to take your child to an emergency room.
  • X-ray and lab work – When your child goes to the hospital or doctor’s office, his or her attending physician may need to run laboratory work or take an x-ray. With CHIP insurance, these services are covered.


Keep in mind that individual states are responsible for managing their own CHIP health insurance programs. This means coverage can vary slightly from one state to another. As a result, some states may offer services in addition to these ones. However, all states offer these basic services.

How much does CHIP insurance cost?

The amount you need to pay for Children’s Health Insurance Program benefits depends on the state you live in. Some state governments require you to pay a monthly premium. If you’re required to pay, this amount won’t be more than five percent of your household’s annual income.

Furthermore, keep in mind that your state may require you to pay a copay in order to access certain services. This means that you would need to pay a certain amount when you go to the doctor.

However, remember that certain CHIP health insurance services are free. These include routine check-ups and visits to the dentist. For specific information about costs in your state, contact your local CHIP office.

Do I need to renew my CHIP insurance benefits?

CHIP health insurance is awarded to children for one year. After these 12 months end, you need to reapply for benefits in order to stay enrolled in CHIP. Renewals aren’t processed automatically. This is because CHIP program offices in each state need to make sure that applicants still qualify for benefits.

As a result, parents and guardians need to be sure to renew their children’s CHIP benefits at the appropriate time. Otherwise, coverage will stop. This can cause inconvenient gaps in the children’s coverage.

However, adults can avoid this issue by filing their children’s renewal applications on time each year. There is no limit to how many times you can renew, so long as your children remain eligible for benefits.