Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Need health coverage for your children? Check if they are qualified for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). If they are eligible, you won't have to buy an insurance plan to cover them.

CHIP provides low-cost health coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid. Each state offers CHIP coverage and works closely with its state Medicaid program. In some states, CHIP covers pregnant women. In most cases, if you qualify for Medicaid, your children will qualify for either Medicaid or CHIP.

Each state program has its own rules about who qualifies for CHIP. You can apply any time of year, and find out if you qualify. If you apply for Medicaid coverage to your state agency, you’ll also find out if your children qualify for CHIP.

There are two ways to apply for CHIP:

  • Call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).
  • Fill out an application through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

If it looks like anyone in your household qualifies for Medicaid or CHIP, we’ll send your information to your state agency. They’ll contact you about enrollment. When you submit your Marketplace application, you’ll also find out if you qualify for an individual insurance plan with savings based on your income instead. Create an account or log in to an existing account to get started.

What CHIP covers

While CHIP benefits differ in each state, all states provide comprehensive coverage, including:

  • Routine check-ups
  • Immunizations
  • Doctor visits
  • Prescriptions
  • Dental and vision care
  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital care
  • Laboratory and X-ray services
  • Emergency services

States may provide more CHIP benefits. Check with your state for information about covered services.

What CHIP costs

Routine "well child" doctor and dental visits are free under CHIP. Note that there may be copayments for other services. Some states charge a monthly premium for CHIP coverage. Costs are different in each state, but you won’t have to pay more than 5% of your family's income for the year.

What if you would rather buy a Marketplace insurance plan?

If your children are eligible for CHIP, they won't be eligible for any savings on Marketplace insurance. CHIP coverage will probably be more affordable. Remember, you and other family members may be eligible for savings on Marketplace insurance coverage.

My children can get CHIP but I don't qualify for Medicaid

You may be able to get an insurance plan through the Marketplace, with savings based on your income. Create an account or log in to an existing account to get started. If it looks like anyone in your household qualifies for Medicaid or CHIP, your information will be sent to your state agency. Your state agency will contact you about enrollment. When submitting your Marketplace application, you will also find out if you qualify for an individual insurance plan with savings based on your income instead.

There is no limited enrollment period for either Medicaid or CHIP. If you qualify, your coverage can start immediately.