How Medicaid Affects Children’s Health

A single mother in Michigan is raising 3 children and works a full-time job. She earns an annual salary of $40,000, well above the poverty line of $23,000 to receive Medicaid from the government. While she is not eligible, her children actually are due to the flexibility of Medicaid regarding children, and the help of CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).

Since 1965, Medicaid has been providing underprivileged Americans affordable health insurance. The services of Medicaid are available to those in poverty who are unable to afford regular health insurance. Today, Medicaid covers over 58 million people, over half of which are children. With Medicaid being a joint program split between the federal and state government, eligibility varies by state. The FPL (federal poverty line) is the primary factor in granting eligibility, but most states have decided to make an exception specifically to children living in families with an income over the poverty line.

What is CHIP?

CHIP is short for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Some children in families surpass the poverty line, yet still cannot afford health insurance. That’s when CHIP steps in. CHIP provides health coverage to roughly 8 million children in struggling families with incomes too high to receive Medicaid. CHIP is administered in three different ways depending on the state:

  1. Separate Child Insurance Program
  2. Medicaid Expansion
  3. Combination of the two

For children in families that have too high of an income to qualify for Medicaid, yet still cannot afford coverage, CHIP offers a viable option. CHIP works together with Medicaid to make sure as many children possible are covered.

Various Benefits of Medicaid and CHIP:

  • Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment Services
  • Inpatient and Outpatient Hospital Services
  • Physicians Services
  • Laboratory Services
  • X-Ray Services
  • Well Baby/Child Care
  • Immunizations
  • Transportation to Medical Care

Protecting the Youth

CHIP and Medicaid collaborate to provide health coverage to millions of children across the United States. These children are a part of a family that below or near the FPL, and require coverage. Then there are also children that need health insurance, are eligible for it, but go uncovered.

After the healthcare reform bill that passed in 2010, 95% of children had access to some type of health insurance. However, this information is misleading due to the fact that Medicaid is a joint program run by both the federal government and the state government. In most states, just because a child may be qualified for Medicaid or CHIP, it does not mean they are inevitably covered. Due to the different policies in different states, some children may not be involved due to “bureaucratic barriers.” Children who are denied coverage suffer in both long term and short term.

Planning the Future

In 2014 the Affordable Care Act will fully take affect, meaning Medicaid coverage for children will be more efficient and more available. Parents will have more control as to the options of their private provider, Medicaid, or CHIP.

  • Extends The Children’s Health Insurance Program – The Affordable Care Act will extend CHIP through September 20th, 2015. By extending the program in advance, extra funding will be available which will lead to a broader number of eligible children.
  • Extended Foster Care Coverage – Children in foster care will receive Medicaid coverage up through the age of 26. Coming out of foster care, finding affordable coverage can be difficult.
  • Obesity Services – Those with Medicaid will have preventative and informative obesity services available. Also, $25 million will be available for funding the Childhood Obesity Demonstration Project, funded by CHIP.
  • More Providers – Come 2014, more pediatric providers will be available countrywide to making it easier for children to get help easily.

Medicaid is not something for a child to just get by with. It is something that develops children into responsible, educated, productive adults. With half of the children in America relying on this, it is an essential program to grow and progress over time. With the Affordable Care Act taking effect in 2014, Medicaid aims to make it possible to cover every child in America.

Medicaid and CHIP work to provide the best coverage conceivable to as many children possible. These programs look to live on as they improve the lives for the youth of America


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