Children's Health Insurance Program


The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), formally known as the States Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), is a joint federal and state initiative to provide children and pregnant women who do not qualify for Medicaid with health insurance coverage. It is funded as a block-grant program by the federal government (usually covering around 70% of the cost), however each state administers their own program (Santerre & Neun, 2009). A state submits a plan for approval to receive finances, and unlike Medicare is allowed cap enrollment when funds are depleted.

CHIP operates under the scope of the US Department of Health and Human Services, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It was created in 1997 and targeted uninsured children and pregnant women. For the federal fiscal year in 2008 it is reported that 7.6 million children were enrolled in this program throughout the country (Santerre & Neun, 2009). The program was recently renewed and expended by President Obama in February of 2009. This expansion is expected to allow 11 million children to be covered.


In the state of Florida, the CHIP program is known as Florida KidCare ( Like many other states, Florida has followed the federal guidelines and customized its CHIP program. States have the flexibility to adjust eligibility, benefit packages, payment levels, and administrative procedures. Preventive care and other standard items must be met by each state. Minimum CHIP eligibility for those who do not qualify for Medicare in the state of Florida must include (Santerre & Neun, 2009):
  • Children under age 19 living below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level
  • Children under age 6 living below 215% of FPL
  • Pregnant Women and parents living below 35% of FPL
  • Not be the dependent of a state employee eligible for health insurance

Not every child who qualifies for a CHIP program is enrolled. This could because of a lack of information (parents do not know) or hinderances to signing-up (travel during work-hours). Health IT can improve the coordination of coverage between CHIP and eligible children. Internet-based registration portals and informational guides can furnish the tools to meet the exigence for covering a state's low-income children (Kenney, 2007).

Web Resources

Related Terminology

State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)


Santerre, R.E., Neun, S.P. (2009) Health Economics: Theory, Insights and Industry Studies, 5th Edition. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Kenney, G., (2007) The Impact of the State Children's Health Insurance Program on Children Who Enroll: Findings from Ten States. Health Services Research 42(4), DOI:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2007.00707.x


CHIP Enrollment Per Year