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Learn About CHIP in California

California CHIP, also called Medi-Cal, is a health insurance program designed to provide children that would otherwise not have insurance with health insurance that is comparable to the state Medicaid program. To be eligible for CHIP insurance, children must meet age, citizenship, residency, circumstantial and income related requirements. Therefore, it is worth taking a look at each of these children’s health insurance eligibility requirements in order to determine whether or not your child may qualify for coverage.

The children’s health insurance program provides coverage for numerous medical services, including routine visits with a physician, mental health services, laboratory and X-ray services and much more. The costs associated with coverage are little to none, based upon family gross income levels. If you are interested in submitting an application, there are a number of ways that you may do so, providing you with the convenience and flexibility that fits your schedule and lifestyle.

What is CHIP in California?

CHIP Medicaid is California’s Medicaid program for children who would not otherwise be eligible for Medicaid due to income and do not have another form of health insurance. While CHIP exists in every state within the United States and is, in part, federally funded, each state has a great deal of control over the program for state residents, including the level of coverage that is offered. Therefore, it is important to review eligibility requirements and coverage levels for California, even if you have previously had coverage for your children in another state.

Who does California CHIP cover?

If you would like to submit a CHIP application in California, it is strongly recommended that you review eligibility requirements for the program first in order to save yourself time and review whether or not your child may be eligible for coverage. CHIP eligibility requirements include residency, citizenship, income, circumstantial and age requirements.

To receive CHIP benefits, a child must be a resident of California and either a United States citizen or a legal alien. If a child is not a U.S. citizen, additional documents may be required when processing an application to provide proof of legal alien status. Children must be under the age of 19 in order to qualify, however, in order for children who are 18 years old to receive coverage benefits, the child must still live at home.

To be eligible for CHIP insurance, a child must not have any other form of health insurance or access to health insurance. If another form of health insurance is present, the child will not be eligible for the program. To learn more about CHIP eligibility, applicants can download our guide to CHIP today.

How to Apply for CHIP in California

To apply for a child health insurance plan through California CHIP, you may submit an application online, in person or by mail. If you have access to the internet, the easiest way to submit an application is online as an online application does not need to abide by office hours and is far faster than a by mail application due to the lack of postage times.

Alternatively, you can apply for CHIP insurance in person by visiting your nearest county office. If you would rather not visit your local office, you may also send an application by mail. Should you choose to send an application by mail, you may obtain an application online, at your local county office or at a variety of hospitals and physician offices.

What is included with California CHIP Coverage?

California CHIP benefits are on par with the state’s Medicaid program. Therefore, coverage is considered excellent. However, it is also worth knowing that benefits for this program do vary from one state to the next. CHIP exists nationally, but each state gets to determine the level of coverage involved within the state. Some of the coverage available through this program includes, but is not limited to:

  • Visits to a physician’s office.
  • Health screening.
  • Immunizations.
  • Inpatient and outpatient services.
  • Laboratory and X-ray services.

Pregnant women and women who recently gave birth may be eligible for certain types of coverage if they did not already have health benefits.

How much is CHIP health insurance in California?

The cost of CHIP in California will vary based upon family income. Some families will not be required to pay anything for their child’s insurance while others will have small copayments that must be paid, generally at the time of service. The amount that a family can expect to pay will be based upon income and reassessed each year that a family reapplies for coverage. However, it is also worth knowing that the maximum out of pocket cost that may be required cannot exceed 5 percent of a family’s gross annual income.

How long do CHIP benefits last in California?

If your child is approved for CHIP benefits in California, it is important to understand that benefits are only approved for a 12-month period at a time. When nearing the expiration date of the health insurance plan, you will automatically receive a notice from your local office offering the opportunity to apply for a renewal of coverage. It is important that you complete and return this notice in a timely manner in order to avoid a lapse in coverage.

If CHIP eligibility requirements are still met, coverage can be extended for an additional 12 months. There is no lifetime limit as to how many times benefits can be extended to eligible children. However, benefits can end prematurely prior to that 12-month period if a child turns 19 or moves outside of the state. Applicants can download an informative guide for more information on CHIP benefits.