On April 1, 2009 the Children’s Health Insurance Program Re-authorization Act went into effect giving millions of children insurance to cover costs of medical care. This Act was signed by President Barack Obama on February 4, 2009 as part of his plan that all Americans have health insurance.
The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is a health insurance plan for children under the age of 19 who are considered low-income and are not eligible for the Medicaid program. This children insurance program is in partnership between the states and the federal government.
To be eligible for the SCHIP program, children must be under the age of 19. They must also be in families considered low-income with earnings to not exceed 200 percent of the (FPL) federal poverty level. These requirements do vary with each state as some states have raised this percentage level to higher eligibility levels. Children must not be insured at the time of applying for SCHIP and must not be eligible to receive Medicaid or be covered under any other state employee health insurance plan through their parents. They also cannot be a resident of any state institution.
The State Children’s Health Insurance Program covers outpatient care, impatient care and emergency room care. Some states do charge a higher copay for using the emergency room for inappropriate reasons and some also require higher co-payments when visiting a specialists. All states are required to cover well-baby visits and well-child visits along with immunizations. Most states also cover substance abuse services and mental health care, although some states may have limits on these services such as limitations on how many visits are covered each year.
Providing millions of children insurance the State Children’s Health Insurance Program is funded by the Federal government and each state’s government. Plans vary according to each state as to benefit packages, eligibility groups, payment levels and operating and administrative procedures although all states are overseen by the federal government.