What You Need to Know About the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and ObamaCare

ObamaCare makes some changes to CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Let’s take a look at ObamaCare and CHIP and learn how the changes may affect your family.

Health coverage is free or low cost for Kids and Teens through Medicaid and CHIP. CHIP is offered 365 days a year, so there is no wrong time to make sure your children are covered.

Don’t Wait to Enroll in the Children’s Health Insurance Program

Under ObamaCare kids, there is no reason to wait to make sure kids are covered. Millions of children qualify for CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) 365 days a year. The CHIP program provides free or low cost coverage to kids and other family members, even kids whose parents make too much money for Medicaid coverage can qualify for CHIP. Over the past 15 years, CHIP has done an excellent job in reducing the number of children without health insurance and under the Affordable Care Act even more kids are covered.

Even states that didn’t expand Medicaid still tend to provide good CHIP coverage. In many non-expansion states, parents who wouldn’t normally qualify for Medicaid can qualify if children qualify for CHIP.
Important: If you have limited Medicaid coverage, when you fill out a Marketplace application and are asked whether you have coverage now, don’t check the box saying you have Medicaid. Check “None of the above” instead.

Since 2009, children and pregnant women can be eligible for Medicaid/ CHIP, including during the five-year ban for immigrants, if they reside in a state that has chosen to extend coverage under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA).

See if Your Children Qualify for CHIP

Each state program has its own rules about who qualifies for CHIP. There are 2 ways to see if your children qualify:

  • Visit www.insurekidsnow.gov and select your state. Or call 1-877-543-7669.
  • Fill out a Marketplace application. HealthCare.Gov will tell you which programs you and your family qualify for. If it looks like anyone is eligible for CHIP, they will let your state CHIP agency know so your coverage can start right away.

What is CHIP?

CHIP is the acronym for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Under the Affordable Care Act, also called ObamaCare, the CHIP program underwent several revisions. Following are the key changes that parents need to know about.

  • While uninsured adults had to wait until January 1, 2014 for coverage under Medicaid expansion to go into effect, most kids didn’t need to wait to qualify for CHIP.
  • The rates of uninsured children are at a record low today, but there are still 7.6 million kids, one in 10, who do not have any insurance.
  • Research shows that when parents are insured kids tend to be as well. But autumn is here and it will not be until mid-winter until parent’s coverage from the exchanges is effective. This is a time for colds, flu, sore throats, and ear infections to begin the rounds of children. There is no reason for them to go without insurance and the opportunity for sound pediatric care.
  • Private insurance companies write CHIP Insurance.
  • Under the ACA CHIP now offers more benefits, rights, and protections for kids.

Who Qualifies for CHIP?

Kid’s coverage is through CHIP if qualified based on income, through Medicaid, or through a child only policy bought on the state exchange. When parents enroll their child is any of the three programs, an evaluation takes place, and the child gets a referral to the most appropriate program for enrollment. Benefits in all programs are the same when age appropriate. This is known as the “No Wrong Door” program that ensure kids get the most insurance for the least amount of money.

Medicaid and CHIP cover:

  • Children and teens up to age 19
  • Young people up to 21 may be covered under Medicaid
  • Youth who have “aged out” of foster care can be covered under Medicaid until they reach age 26

Medicaid also covers:

  • Pregnant women
  • Parents
  • People with disabilities
  • In states that have expanded Medicaid, more adults may be eligible than ever before, whether or not they are raising children.

Learn more about Medicaid Expansion here.

What CHIP Offers Now

Parents who sign their kids up for CHIP now can expect that they will receive 26 completely free “preventative health services” that includes vaccinations, obesity screening and counseling, screening for autism and depression and free iron supplements for kids ages 6 to 12 months who on evaluation, are at risk for anemia. There are many other free preventative services.

CHIP covers 10 essential health services that include; pediatric dental and vision care, mental health and substance abuse services, emergency services, maternity and newborn care.

FACT: Under CHIP essential care is covered at low or no out-of-pocket costs. Cost is based on income.

Eligibility Criteria for CHIP

If your child is eligible for CHIP there is a very good chance that it is free. Families that have to pay, only pay a small amount. A family of four that is making $41,700 or less get free CHIP coverage; a family making $70,650 or less pay a reduced low cost; families making over $70,650 pay full cost for the insurance. For example, in Eastern Pennsylvania the lowest cost CHIP insurance is $48.27, the same company’s (AETNA) highest rate for CHIP is $188.81. These are monthly premiums. (Dollar amounts are from 2014, they raise slightly each year and are given as examples.)

Sign Up For CHIP Now

You can sign up for CHIP now by going here: Sign up for Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Make sure to also check out your State’s Health Insurance Marketplace. When you apply to the marketplace you’ll find out if you and your family are eligible for cost assistance, Medicaid, and CHIP.

 

ObamaCare and the Childrens Health Options Program (CHIP)
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