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Learn About CHIP in Arkansas

Arkansas CHIP, otherwise known as ARKids First, is a health insurance program that provides coverage to more than 70,000 children across the state annually. CHIP insurance is available at little to no cost, based upon parental income, and provides numerous benefits and levels of coverage, including checkups, lab work, eye exams, dental checkups and more. When learning more about ARKids First and the basics of the federal program, it is important to review program eligibility requirements, the coverage that is included within the insurance, how to apply and how long benefits are available in order to determine if ARKids First is the right coverage for your child.

Before applying for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, it is worth knowing that coverage can only be provided to certain children that do not have any other form of health insurance, whose parents meet income related requirements and are either U.S. citizens or qualifying immigrants.

What is CHIP in Arkansas?

Arkansas ARKids First, or CHIP Medicaid, provides health insurance coverage that is similar to the state’s Medicaid program. Today, more than 70,000 children throughout the state receive health insurance coverage from ARKids First each year. The ARKids First program provides benefits under two coverage options: ARKids A and ARKids B. While ARKids B is associated with low fees and co-payments, ARKids A is completely free. Both of these programs provide the same level of coverage and the program that your child will be eligible for is based upon your income level.

Who does Arkansas CHIP cover?

Before you submit an Arkansas CHIP application, it is worth taking a moment to review the eligibility requirements that must be met in order for a child to receive coverage from ARKids First. ARKids First is only available to children who live within the state and are under the age of 19. In order for an 18 year old to qualify for coverage, the teen must live with you in your home.

CHIP eligibility also requires that children are either U.S. citizens or qualified legal aliens. If a child is not a U.S. citizen, documentation of the child’s alien status must be provided alongside of the application before coverage can be approved.

CHIP benefits are only provided to children that do not have any other form of insurance. If your child currently has access to health insurance, he or she will not be eligible for ARKids First. Finally, there are also income related requirements that must be met in order to receive insurance benefits. Income limits are based upon family size and you cannot exceed the monthly or annual limit in order for your child to remain eligible. Income limits will also determine whether or not your child is eligible for ARKids A or ARKids B, and this will determine the cost that you can expect to pay for the health insurance policy.

How to Apply for CHIP in Arkansas

Once you have reviewed CHIP eligibility in Arkansas, it is important to familiarize yourself with the application process and review the application methods that are available to you in order to save yourself time and hassle.

The easiest way to apply for CHIP insurance is by submitting an online application. Online applications generally take less time to process, especially in comparison to by mail submissions, and these applications can be completed on your own time and from the comfort of your own home.

Alternatively, you can submit a CHIP application in person by visiting your local Department of Human Services office. If you would rather mail your application, you may also download and print an application online, complete the application and send it to the Department of Human Services mailing address. The office also accepts faxed and emailed submissions, but you should check the application and the office contact information to make sure that you have up-to-date contact information.

If you would like to mail your application, but do not have access to a printer, you may also contact the ARKids First toll-free hotline during normal business hours to request an application. You can also find an application through various hospitals, churches, daycare centers, public schools and pharmacies.

What is included with Arkansas CHIP Coverage?

Arkansas CHIP coverage is different than coverage options that are available within other states. While CHIP does exist in every state within the U.S., it is important to understand that the state determines the level of coverage that is offered through the program. With ARKids First, you can expect your child to receive health insurance coverage for medical services such as:

  • Visits with a physician.
  • Emergency services.
  • Dental services.
  • Laboratory and X-ray services.
  • Immunizations.
  • Health screenings.
  • Mental health services.

As stated previously, CHIP coverage remains the same, regardless of whether your child has ARKids A or ARKids B.

How much is CHIP health insurance in Arkansas?

After enrolling in the Children’s Health Insurance Program in Arkansas, you may or may not be required to pay copayments and coinsurance fees. While ARKids A is completely free, ARKids B does come at a small cost. However, copayments are never required for certain services, such as preventive health screening, family planning services and dental checkups.

With CHIP, the maximum amount that ARKids B families can expect to pay is 5 percent of the family’s gross annual income. After this out-of-pocket maximum has been reached, additional fees will not incur for the remainder of the beneficiary period. However, if coverage is renewed at the end of that beneficiary period, cost sharing would resume until the 5 percent figure has been met again.

How long do CHIP benefits last in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, CHIP insurance will remain in effect for a one-year beneficiary period. To keep coverage for your child, you must renew coverage each year. The Department of Human Services will attempt to complete your child’s renewal electronically prior to the current coverage’s expiration date. However, if your household income cannot be verified, DHS will send you a renewal form by mail that must be completed and returned to the office in a timely manner. Your child’s CHIP will be renewed for an additional 12 months, so long the child is still eligible for coverage. Failing to renew coverage within a timely manner can result in a lapse in coverage.

In some cases, CHIP coverage may end prior to the coverage end date. This may occur if a child turns 19 years of age or if the child moves out of state. To learn more about CHIP benefits, make sure to download our comprehensive guide to CHIP benefits for your family.