The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Title XXI of the Social Security Act, is a state and federal partnership that targets uninsured children and pregnant women in families with incomes too high to qualify for most state Medicaid programs, but often too low to afford private coverage. Created in 1997, CHIP was previously known as the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and is run by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Under federal guidelines, states have flexibility in designing their individual CHIP programs and in determining eligibility criteria, benefit packages, payment levels for coverage and administrative procedures. They may choose to provide the same benefit package that their Medicaid program provides, base their benefit package on typical private insurance plans (benchmark plans), or design a unique benefit plan that is subject to federal approval. Unfortunately, the mental health benefit in many states is limited to inpatient hospital care and traditional outpatient treatment (therapy and medications). In a small number of states, children with serious mental or emotional disorders have access to additional services, such as rehabilitation services, that help the child to function in their community.
The Children's Health Insurance Program reaches approximately 11 million children. During FFY 2008, 334,616 adults were also covered with CHIP funds.
For more information on CHIP, see the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services web site.