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CHIP - Children's Health Insurance.

The state and federal government Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) helps help kids, newborns and teens from low to moderate income families get low-cost, or even free medical insurance. While CHIP  is part of Medicaid, the government benefit helps people who income is too high for that benefit. It offers many health benefits, including routine check-ups, immunizations, doctor visits, prescriptions, vision or dental care, vision care, and hospitalization. Find CHIP insurance near you.

Note CHIP health insurance for kids or low-income families is called different names in different states, and see details below. Kids of all ages from low to moderate income households, single mom or dad run homes and others can benefit from it. CHIP insurance will also cover pregnant women in most states. It will often even pay for eye glasses, dental cleanings, behavioral health care or therapy for teens and more.

What is CHIP insurance?

CHIP is a federal and state partnership that provides health insurance to children and, in some states, pregnant women in families who earn too much income to qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford private insurance. Initiated in 1997, CHIP is federally funded but administered at the state level. The program is offered for both U.S. citizens and also eligible immigrants.

It also targets more moderate income families as well, so it is not strictly for households living in poverty. Some version of this health coverage is offered in every state and most doctors, hospital, and medical providers accept CHIP insurance when treating kids.

Children up to age 19 are eligible for CHIP. Eligibility criteria are determined by each state based on income, family size, and other factors. Generally, families with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level may qualify for CHIP insurance near them. In some states, pregnant women are also eligible for CHIP. The goal is to expand medical and dental care across the nation to low to moderate income parents. There is even help in paying for prescription drug coverage for children - teenagers.




Many states will even set higher income thresholds and still allow teenagers as well as other children to qualify. This resource was really created in order to offer low-cost health insurance coverage for the so called working poor, which is people with jobs but that are still struggling to pay for costly medical care, prescription drugs, and other health care services. CHIP can assist low to moderate income children in families whose income is just a little too high to qualify for Medicaid. However their income would not be high enough for them to pay for private health insurance.

Families and working parents who just lack health insurance from their job can still apply for CHIP as well. So having a job does not prevent you from receiving access to this government insurance program, as many working families cannot pay their bills and afford health insurance on their own. In addition, legal guardians and grandparents can apply for Medicaid and CHIP on behalf of a child or someone that they are caring for.

Health care provided by CHIP - Children's Health Insurance Program

In almost all states, routine checks ups and well child doctor visits are offered for free. Some other medical treatments may require the parent to pay for copayments. A number of other states also charge a monthly premium for coverage; however your total expenses can’t be more than 5% of your family’s total household income each month. As indicated, the program will vary by state. Each state can customize (to some extent) its version of the Children's Health Insurance Program. They can set benefits, premiums, eligibility, and cost-sharing levels.

The Children's Health Insurance Program Medicaid program will help people with paying their bills that result from these visits to a doctor, dentist, optometrist or hospital. It offsets costs that many low to moderate income parents are faced with on a daily basis. The government insurance will pay for services such as hospital care, doctor visits, flu vaccine, immunizations, lab work, dental care, and prescription medicines for kids. CHIP can pay for immunizations, flu shots, and other costly medications that children may need. Other benefits are offered too, including mental health as well as therapy for teens or kids. Look here for more on free therapy for teens.

Each state designs its own CHIP insurance program, including determining application and renewal procedures. The exact amount and type of coverage offered is set by each state. So there is no one source of what a child can be qualified for or not. They can decide on the benefits, and can include dental care, check-ups, immunizations, lab and x-ray services, and hospital care. While children get free preventive care, some minimal payments, such as low premiums or minimal fees, may be required to be paid for certain types of services.





As examples of the type of coverage, the Children’s Medicaid and CHIP offers many other benefits to qualified families. These too depend on the state though.

  • Choice and access to doctors from CHIP is provided. You can pick your own doctor to go to for regular checkups and office visits. Get access and referrals to mental health care and medical specialists.
  • Free dental care is offered, including cleanings, fillings, wisdom teeth removal for kids, and visits. Look here for free emergency dentist near you.
  • Vision care is offered too. This includes eye exams, consultations, contact lenses and glasses.
  • In addition to CHIP helping with vision, there may be free glasses or contacts passed out.
  • Special health needs. This can include hospital care and services, medical supplies, X-rays, lab tests, and more.
  • Prescription drugs, immunizations and vaccines. Or find other sources of assistance paying for prescription drugs.

When children have health insurance, they are less likely to get sick. So the government will use the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to give people better access to health care throughout the critical, early part of their lives and their overall development. Being pro-active up front with your kids medical or dental needs has many benefits for the child and their parents.

Newborns as well as pregnant women can also get assistance. Benefits include providing preventative care to keep them well; receive needed shots and immunizations that prevent disease; get free dental care; access prescription medications for the baby or mom; and children can also receive treatment for recurring illnesses such as asthma, flu, and ear infections. Other services provided by CHIP include routine check-ups, mental health services, vision care, Laboratory and X-ray services, and Inpatient and outpatient hospital care.CHIP insurance near you

Key conditions and requirements for CHIP insurance for your kid(s)

While CHIP and Medicaid terms can be set by each state, health insurance is normally offered for teenagers and children only. It is rare that exceptions are made. Usually children and teenagers under the age of 19 can be covered, and the total income (while determined by the number of people in the household) will normally be 200% of federal poverty levels.

The CHIP program will allow families to select a doctor for their child if they do not have one already. This will ensure they receive the affordable, high quality health care they need. So children will be able to receive well-child visits and immunizations that are required to attend school. Prescription medications can be provided to children for illnesses.

Once you are signed up, children can receive coverage from the program as long as they qualify per government standards. So as long as the family continues to meet the state’s income level, and the child/teen is under 18, health care is still provided. You more than likely will need to formally renew your coverage. Once CHIP ends, there are other places to turn to for health or dental care for the uninsured.

Qualified legal immigrants and of course U.S. citizens will qualify for CHIP. In addition, pregnant women may be eligible for coverage. Expectant mothers generally receive services such as help in paying for labor and delivery costs, lab testing and money can be provided to pay for care after delivery. States also have the option of covering pregnant women, infants, and children who are lawfully residing in the United States.

Apply for CHIP insurance near you

State agencies process CHIP applications near you, and they are listed below. There is also online applications to CHIP from as well as To learn more about the programs in your state, dial 1-877-543-7669 to get information and find out more about what and how CHIP insurance works in your state. Or dial 1-800-318-2596, or look here for CHIP on







Representatives and counselors can help people learn whether your children can qualify for CHIP near you, and what type of benefits you can receive. As noted, the exact terms, conditions, income criteria, and type of medical care coverage varies by state, but in general CHIP is a free or affordable government insurance option for middle income Americans.

Apply through ALL Kids. Phone: 1-888-373-5437 which is the Alabama Medicaid Agency, which operates CHIP.

Apply for CHIP through Denali KidCare. Phone: 1-888-318-8890.

Apply through KidsCare. Phone: 1-877-764-5437 to apply for CHIP from Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System

Apply through ARKids First. Phone: 1-888-474-8275 for the Arkansas Department of Human Services

Apply through California Children's Services (CCS), Phone: 1-800-675-2229, is is Med-Cal Department of Health Care Services

Apply through Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+). Phone: 1-800-359-1991. Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing

Apply through HUSKY Health for CHIP health care. Phone: 1-877-284-8759, as they process CHIP insurance and Medicaid as part of Connecticut Department of Social Services

Apply through Delaware Healthy Children Program. Phone: 1-800-996-9969, Delaware Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance

Apply through Florida KidCare - CHIP insurance. Phone: 1-888-540-5437.

Apply through PeachCare for Kids. Phone: 1-877-427-3224. Georgia Department of Community Health

Apply through Hawaii QUEST Integration (Med-QUEST) for CHIP. Phone: 1-800-316-8005, at Hawaii Department of Human Services

Apply through Idaho Health Plan. Phone: 1-877-456-1233 for the Department of Health and Welfare

Apply for CHIP through All Kids. Phone: 1-866-255-5437 to reach the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services

Apply through Hoosier Healthwise. Phone: 1-800-889-9949. Indiana Family and Social Services Administration

Apply through Hawki. Phone: 1-800-257-8563. They take Medicaid and CHIP applications at the Iowa Department of Human Services

Apply through KanCare, Phone: 1-800-792-4884. Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Apply through Kentucky Children's Health Insurance Program. Phone: 1-877-524-4718. The government agency of Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services takes applications.

Apply through LaCHIP. Phone: 1-877-252-2447. Louisiana Department of Health

Apply through Cub Care. Phone: 1-855-797-4357. Maine DHHS.

Apply through Maryland Children’s Health Program (MCHP). Phone: 1-800-456-8900. Applications are at the Maryland Department of Health.





Apply through MassHealth. Phone: 1-800-841-2900. Massachusetts Health and Human Services

Apply through MIChild. Phone: 1-888-988-6300. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Apply for CHIP through Medical Assistance (MA). Phone: 1-800-657-3739. Minnesota Department of Human Services

Apply through CHIP - Medicaid. Phone: 1-877-543-7669. Mississippi Division of Medicaid Insurance

Apply through MO HealthNet for Kids. Phone: 1-888-275-5908. Missouri Department of Social Services

Apply through Healthy Montana Kids (HMK). Phone: 1-877-543-7669. Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

Apply through Kids Connection. Phone: 1-855-632-7633. CHIP insurance goes through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

Apply through Nevada Check Up. Phone: 1-877-543-7669. Nevada Division of Health Care Financing and Policy

New Hampshire
Apply through NH Healthy Families. Phone: 1-800-852-3345. CHIP is processed by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

New Jersey
Apply through NJ FamilyCare. Phone: 1-800-701-0710 to reach NJ FamilyCare

New Mexico
Apply through New MexiKids. Phone: 1-888-997-2583 for the New Mexico Human Services Department

New York
Apply through Child Health Plus. Phone: 1-800-698-4543. New York State Department of Health has applications for low income CHIP and Medicaid benefits.

North Carolina
Apply through Health Choice for Children. Phone: 1-800-662-7030. North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

North Dakota
Apply through Healthy Steps. Phone: 1-877-543-7669. North Dakota Department of Human Services

Apply for CHIP through Healthy Start & Healthy Families. Phone: 1-800-324-8680. Ohio Department of Medicaid

Apply through SoonerCare (Medicaid / CHIP). Phone: 1-800-987-7767. Oklahoma Health Care Authority

Apply through Oregon Healthy Kids. Phone: 1-800-699-9075. Oregon Health Authority

Apply through CHIP. Phone: 1-800-986-5437. The government name is the Pennsylvania's CHIP Program

Rhode Island
Apply through RIte Care. Phone: 1-855-840-4774. Rhode Island Executive Office of Health & Human Services

South Carolina
Apply through Partners for Healthy Children to get CHIP. Phone: 1-888-549-0820 to reach South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

South Dakota
Apply through CHIP. Phone: 1-800-305-3061. South Dakota Department of Social Services

Apply through CoverKids. Phone: 1-866-620-8864. Applications are done by Tennessee Department of Finance & Administration

Apply through CHIP insurance at the state level. Phone: 1-877-543-7669 for Texas Health and Human Services

Apply through CHIP. Phone: 1-800-662-9651. Utah Department of Health

Apply through Dr. Dynasaur. Phone: 1-800-250-8427. Vermont Department of Health Access

Apply through FAMIS Medicaid - CHIP. Phone: 1-855-242-8282 for Cover Virginia

Apply through Apple Health for Kids. Phone: 1-800-562-3022. Washington State Health Care Authority

West Virginia
Apply through WV CHIP. Phone: 1-877-982-2447 for the West Virginia CHIP benefit

Apply through BadgerCare Plus. Phone: 1-800-362-3002 for WI Department of Health Services

Apply through Kid Care CHIP. Phone: 1-855-294-2127. Wyoming Department of Health


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By Jon McNamara














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