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Learn About CHIP Program Requirements

To get CHIP benefits for your children, you have to meet the requirements. Families who don’t meet Medicaid requirements might still qualify for CHIP. You have to make less than a certain amount of money every month to get benefits. You have to meet age and citizenship requirements, too.

CHIP benefits are given out by the states. Different states have different requirements. The main requirement that changes by state is the income limit. This is because the cost to live in different states is different. The income limit changes every year, too. Double-check the requirements in your state to see if you might qualify. Read the sections below for more information about CHIP’s requirements.

What is the difference between CHIP and Medicaid?

Medicaid gives health insurance to low-income people and their families. You can only make a small amount of money to qualify for Medicaid. This is why not everyone can get Medicaid benefits.

CHIP gives health insurance to children who live in families that make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough money to afford private insurance.

Learn About Citizenship & Residency for CHIP

To qualify for CHIP, you have to live in the U.S. legally. You can be a U.S. citizen or national. You can be a lawful permanent resident, refugee or victim of trafficking, too.

Other groups that meet this CHIP requirement include:

  • Haitian and Cuban immigrants.
  • People looking for asylum.
  • People who were paroled into the U.S. for at least a year.
  • Battered spouses, children and parents.
  • People who were not deported.
  • Members of an Indian tribe that is recognized by the government.
  • American Indians born in Canada.

Some non-citizens who are living legally in the U.S. might have to wait five years to get CHIP. This depends on where they live. For example, California and Illinois let children get CHIP benefits without waiting five years. Colorado and New Jersey let pregnant women from these groups get benefits early, too.

You will have to give proof of your residency to a caseworker for them to decide if you qualify. Depending on your situation, you can use a utility bill and a permanent resident card or U.S. passport or driver’s license.

Learn About Age Requirements for CHIP

To qualify for CHIP, applicants have to meet the age requirement. CHIP was made to help low-income families with children. So families have to have one child who is 18 or younger to qualify.

Some states let pregnant women get CHIP benefits, too. They do not have to meet an age requirement.

Some states have age requirements for infants. For example, in Minnesota, a baby can get CHIP benefits if they are 2 or younger.

To find out more about CHIP requirements, download our free guide.

Learn About Income Rules for CHIP

CHIP has income rules that you have to follow to get benefits. Income rules are different for different states. The amount your family can make is based on how many people live in your household. Families with more people are usually allowed to make more money and still qualify.

Some states have different income rules for children’s coverage and for pregnant women. Depending on the situation, a child might get free CHIP benefits but a pregnant woman in the same family might have to pay for CHIP. Income rules change every year.

What factors will not affect me?

Every state has its own requirements for CHIP. But some factors will not affect these requirements. For example, having a preexisting condition will not affect your requirements for CHIP. A preexisting condition is a medical condition that already exists before you apply for health insurance. Another factor that won’t affect your requirements is if you develop a condition after you join the CHIP program.

The main factors that will take you out of the CHIP program are:

  • If you start making more money than the income limit.
  • If you or your child get too old to meet the age requirement.

What you own, or your “assets,” will not usually affect your requirements either. This is a common rule for other programs like food stamps. But the CHIP program doesn’t have this rule. Only some states will look at what you own and how much it is worth before deciding if you meet CHIP requirements.