Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Overview of CHIP

Since its creation in 1997, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has allowed states to expand health coverage voluntarily to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for traditional Medicaid but too low to afford private health insurance. Approximately 8 million children are currently covered through the program.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), improvements in Medicaid and CHIP have extended access to affordable health care coverage to millions of previously uninsured, non-Medicare eligible adults and children. The uninsured population reached a historic low. CHIP is not an entitlement, but rather an optional program in which states may elect to participate. The program is funded jointly by states and the federal government.

This differs from Medicaid, which, as an entitlement, requires the state to enroll all qualified applicants and allows the state to draw down federal funds to help cover any enrollees beyond its budgeted projection.

Because nearly 65 percent of family physicians participate in Medicaid and provide care for children, AAFP members have a major stake in ensuring CHIP remains a viable and useful means for providing care to at-risk children.


Recent AAFP Communications

Joint Communications with Other Organizations

Joint Letter to Congress Leadership Urging CHIP Refunding - January 10, 2018(2 page PDF)
Joint Letter to Congress Supporting CHIP and Health Extenders - December 20, 2017(4 page PDF)


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