State Children’s Health Insurance Program

State Children’s Health Insurance Program

The State Children Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is a health financing program that caters for healthcare needs of children who cannot pay for private health cover, but who do not qualify for Medicaid (American Medical Association, 2012). SCHIP entails the provision of funds to provide health covers to families that have children. The states and federal governments are jointly responsible for financing SCHIP.

Each state designs its own SCHIP, including setting up eligibility criteria; level of coverage; policies and package. The Federal government steps in to augment the progress made by the state governments (American Medical Association, 2012). The assistance given by the federal government for SCHIP matches the funds that the state governments have availed.

SCHIP entitles all states to an allotment of a given amount of fund every year (American Medical Association, 2012). SCHIP gives the state a period of three years to spend these funds. After the three years, the federal government reallocates the funds that remain to states that have spent their allotment. SCHIP mainly provides cover to children from poor families that cannot afford private insurance.

These children are often ineligible for Medicaid because their families’ incomes are higher than the minimum threshold for Medicaid (American Medical Association, 2012). SCHIP has also authorized some states to provide cover to parents whose children are eligible for this program. This authorization enables other adults and pregnant women to receive health care.

Congress established SCHIP in 1997, and expected it to last for 10 years (American Medical Association, 2012). In 2007, congress needed to pass a reauthorization bill in order to ensure the continued existence of the program. Congress initially expanded the program for two years and later extended to the year 2013 (American Medical Association, 2012). The latest reauthorization expanded the program with target of reaching 4 million additional children. Currently, SCHIP is available in all the country’s states.


American Medical Association (2012). “The State Children’s Health Insurance Program”. November 14, 2012.

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