American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)

Overview

The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is designed to provide insurance coverage for children whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but who cannot afford private coverage. Unlike Medicaid, funding for SCHIP is capped and both spending and the number of children covered by the program are much less than Medicaid.

Much like Medicaid, each state is given the freedom to determine the design of its CHIP program, including eligibility groups, benefit packages, payment levels for coverage, and administrative and operating procedures. More information on individual state plans is available on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Web site.

States may have varying eligibility rules, but in most states, uninsured children under the age of 19 whose families earn up to $36,200 a year (for a family of four) are eligible. SCHIP provides coverage for:

  • doctor visits
  • immunizations
  • hospitalizations
  • emergency room visits

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