What is CHIP?

In 1997, Congress created the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expand health insurance coverage for uninsured children. This program significantly increases the number of children eligible for state-sponsored health insurance by extending coverage to children who:

  1. Live in low or moderate income families
  2. Are not eligible for Medicaid
  3. Are not covered under another health plan

Each state decides eligibility requirements for CHIP, so it differs from state to state. Like Medicaid, a family with moderate income and high medical bills may qualify financially for CHIP. Unlike Medicaid, states may include cost-sharing in their CHIP plans. The plans may also require families to pay deductibles, co-payments, and premiums, but these cannot exceed 5% of the family's total income.

States may also choose to include two eligibility strategies. The first strategy is presumptive eligibility. In this situation, a child is presumed eligible from the time an application is made and will receive health services while waiting for final eligibility approval. The second strategy is continuous eligibility. Under this option, the child is enrolled for a 12-month continuous period, regardless of ups and downs in the family's income level, which may affect eligibility.

CHIP is a flexible program. Eligibility requirements may vary from state to state, and states may change financial eligibility requirements in the future. If you apply now and do not qualify financially, be sure to check income eligibility requirements later. If you move, find out what the requirements are in your new state.

Note: In New Hampshire, it is called New Hampshire Healthy Kids or Title XXI.

For information about the New Hampshire Healthy Kids program, call 1-800-545-9635, or visit the New Hampshire Healthy Kids website at http://www.nhhealthykids.com.

For information about eligibility for medical assistance in New Hampshire, call the Division of Family Assistance at 1-800-852-3345 extension 4238, or visit the Department of Health and Human Services website at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/DHHS/MEDASSISTELIG/ELIGIBILITY/default.htm.

For links to New Hampshire city and town welfare offices, visit the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire's website at http://www.bianh.org/resource/financial.htm.


  1. Apply as early as possible.
  2. Ask if benefits are retroactive (go back) to a certain date.
  3. Ask if you can be reimbursed for any bills already paid.