Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Originally passed in 1997 with strong bipartisan approval, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a vital source of health care coverage for low-income children and pregnant women. CHIP plays a key role for those who earn too much to be eligible for Medicaid but cannot afford to purchase their own private coverage. Today, over 8 million children and 370,000 pregnant women receive care through CHIP on an annual basis.

Since the enactment of CHIP, states have been able to design their own programs and provide coverage tailored to their local needs and preferences. CHIP, alongside Medicaid, has succeeded in cutting the rate of low-income uninsured children by over 50 percent. CHIP offers comprehensive benefits that are customized for children’s health. In addition, 18 states have opted to cover pregnant women through CHIP, with the goal of ensuring healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.

While CHIP is authorized through 2019, its funding levels are set to expire on September 30, 2017. CHIP is not an entitlement program, so Congress must act to extend the program into the future. Without CHIP, the children and pregnant women who rely on the program could be left without affordable coverage options—or lose coverage altogether. The March of Dimes urges Congress to fully fund the Children's Health Insurance Program for at least five years to preserve affordable, comprehensive high-quality care for pregnant women and children.

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