More than 9.6 million children were enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 2018. The plan was signed into law in 1997, and there were around 660,000 enrollees during the first year of the program.
Health insurance options for children
CHIP provides health coverage to eligible children through standalone programs or as a complement to Medicaid. Both programs combined to cover approximately 35 million children in April 2019, with the state of California providing the highest number of enrollees. CHIP helps to fill the coverage gap for children in families that have incomes that are too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to afford private health insurance. For Medicaid and CHIP programs in 2020, the median upper income eligibility level for children was 255 percent of the federal poverty level.
Measuring and monitoring quality of care
Both CHIP and Medicaid are jointly financed by the federal and state governments, but states have the final say on many of the program’s important issues. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services established a core set of health care quality measures for children in Medicaid and CHIP in 2010. A total of 26 measures were recommended in 2018, and the states of South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Alabama reported the most. The reporting of measures is currently voluntary but will become mandatory in 2024.