National Health Policy Forum

Background Paper

No. 68
Date: APRIL 23, 2009
Title: The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP): The Fundamentals
Author: Jennifer Ryan
Summary: This background paper provides a brief overview of the fundamental elements of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP, which served more than 7 million children in federal fiscal year 2008, is a jointly funded federal-state partnership that was originally enacted in 1997 as a complement to the Medicaid program. CHIP is designed to provide health insurance coverage for children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford to purchase private insurance coverage. The program was reauthorized in the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009, which included several changes and additions to the structure of CHIP. This document provides a brief discussion of the rules around eligibility, benefits, and financing. It also outlines the new sources of funding that are available for reaching out to children who might be eligible for CHIP or Medicaid but have not enrolled, and for establishing quality and performance measurement standards for the program.
Related
Materials:
For more information on CHIP and Medicaid, see ”Reauthorizing SCHIP: A Summary of Selected Issues" (Issue Brief No. 829, January 8, 2009); "Medicaid Eligibility and Benefits" (The Basics, January 28, 2011); and "Medicaid Financing" (The Basics, February 13, 2013).