Saturday, April 10, 2010

CHIP health insurance program explained

CHIP stands for Children's Health Insurance Program and was initiated by the Congress in 1997. It is a special program connecting federal and state government with the aim to provide additional health coverage to uninsured children and future mothers who don't have the financial abilities to purchase a separate individual policy but still don't qualify for Medicaid.

On February 4, 2009, CHIP was expanded by President Obama's passing of law on Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA). This expansion raises the number of children within CHIP from 7 million to 11 million and extends its payment through 2013.

Who qualifies for CHIP?

CHIP is something between Medicaid and private insurance plans. Those who have too much income for Medicaid but still can't afford private plans may use CHIP.

CHIP eligibility rules are different in each state. Still, in the majority of states, children who are younger than 18 years old and whose families earn $44,100 or less a year are eligible for CHIP.

The number of family members strongly influences the income value making it possible to opt for CHIP. For instance, a family of four can earn up to $44,100 while a family of two the upper income limit for being eligible for CHIP is $29,140 a year.

What is the cost of CHIP?

It all depends on the place you live in and how much your family earns, but in most cases you will have to pay a small fee on a monthly basis in order to receive coverage. In some states you may also encounter start-up fees and co-payments for each service received. For instance, it will cost you $35 to start the coverage in Colorado and each doctor visit or service will cost you between $2 and $5.

With CHIP health insurance you get very low fees for the services, but they are quite often related to your family's income. For example, the monthly fee for CHIP coverage in the state of New York is only $9 and children from families with higher income may apply. In the state of Illinois however, having an income between $44,000 and $66,156 per year will result in a $40 monthly premium paid for each child.

What are the benefits provided by CHIP?
The list benefits you can get through CHIP varies from one state do another. However there's a minimum set of requirements the program is obliged to provide regardless of the location:
  • regular check-ups

  • immunizations

  • dental services

  • hospital care

  • emergency room services

  • laboratory and x-ray visits
As said earlier, in some states you will be required to pay certain fees for getting the coverage or cover a part of services provided through CHIP. Still, it is a strict requirement that preventive care is absolutely free in all states through CHIP.

CHIP can be a possibility to get cheap health insurance for those who really need it. Children are very important to us and having their health protected is very crucial for parents. Don't try to save money on health insurance coverage for your children because there are programs like CHIP and Medicaid that can help you if your income doesn't allow you to get medical coverage from a private insurance company.


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