Learn How to Qualify and Apply for CHIP

It is designed to provide children with free or low-cost medical coverage. In certain states, pregnant women may also receive coverage through CHIP.

Parents do not need to have Medicaid to apply for CHIP.

To qualify, the income of the child’s parents or legal guardians must fall below certain levels.

Applications may be submitted in person or online, depending on the state of residency.

Completing a CHIP application may seem like a daunting process, especially if you have a complex situation in terms of your income and eligibility for other government assistance programs.

However, having a general understanding of how the program works and how to qualify may clarify the process.

If you think the program may significantly reduce the strain on your budget, it is worth filling out an application.

To do so, you will need to have the information handy about your income and general information about each of your family members.

If you qualify for CHIP, you may qualify for other government assistance programs, such as SNAP, though you may need to apply separately.

Keep in mind that there are different eligibility standards for each state. All states, however, must meet basic federal requirements.

What are the requirements for CHIP?

While the specific requirements for CHIP vary from state to state, a state program will usually take your monthly income, size of your family and the age of each family into account.

You must also demonstrate that you are a U.S. citizen or are legally present in the country.

You are considered a lawful permanent resident (LPR) if you are a refugee, human trafficking victim or have unexpired verification documents from the Department of Homeland Security (DPS) in your possession.

You may also be eligible for CHIP as a legal, non-citizen if you are or have been:

  • A Haitian or Cuban entrant.
  • Seeking asylum.
  • Paroled into the U.S. for a minimum of one year.
  • Received a court notice that grants withholding of deportation.
  • Part of a federally-recognized Indian tribe.
  • An American Indian with Canadian citizenship.

You may be required to present proof of legal presence or citizenship in the form of a U.S. birth certificate, passport, passport card, green card or other qualifying documents.

To prove your residency in the state, you must submit a recent utility bill, W-2 form, pay stub, driver’s license or state ID card.

In some states, your children will not qualify for CHIP, even with legal status, until five years have passed since the determination of their status.

Other states, such as California and Illinois, do not have a five-year waiting period.

Learn About Age Requirements in the CHIP Program

In general, you must have at least one child who is below 18 years of age to qualify for the program.

Depending on your state, however, you may receive coverage for yourself if you are pregnant, even if you are 18 years of age or older. Certain states also have categories for different age groups.

In Minnesota, for example, there are three categories of eligibility:

  • Infants who are below 2 years of age
  • Children who are between 2 and 18 years of age
  • Pregnant women

In general, you will only qualify for CHIP as a pregnant woman if you are not already on Medicaid.

However, children may be able to receive funding from both programs. Note that some states do not have separate categories of eligibility.

Learn About Factors That Will Not Affect Your CHIP Requirements

If your child has a pre-existing condition, you will not have to worry about whether it will negatively impact your chances of receiving CHIP coverage.

A pre-existing condition is a disability or illness that you or your child has had before enrolling in a health insurance plan.

CHIP does not perform a medical evaluation of each family member during the application process.

You may not qualify for the program for other reasons, such as an increase in income that places you and your family over a certain limit or your children reach 18 years of age.

It is also important to understand that your assets are not taken into consideration for CHIP eligibility.

This is different from other government assistance programs, which will factor your liquid assets into your income. A liquid asset may be a luxury car, stocks and more.

How to Apply for CHIP

Depending on the state in which you apply, you may use an online application portal. An online portal allows you to pre-determine your likelihood of receiving coverage and gives you direct access to the application.

Generally, you must create an account to use the portal.

The application then requires you to submit personal information about you and your family with as much accuracy as possible.

Once you complete the steps of the online process, you must provide an electronic signature.

Afterwards, you will receive a confirmation email or code that verifies your submission.

Some states do not have an online application portals. This includes Maine, Massachusetts, South Dakota and several others.

If you are in a state where you cannot apply online, you may visit a nearby county office in order to fill out the application in person.

You may also find the application on a state website, print it and fill it out by hand. Depending on the state, you may submit the completed application by mail or through fax.

Some states also allow you to apply by phone.

Some applicants need assistance filling out their CHIP applications due to a disability or other situation.

If this applies to you, contact your local county CHIP office. The office will also help you with any questions you may have on your application.

If English is not your first language, ask about applications offered in other languages.

Information and Documentation Required for the CHIP Application

The CHIP application will require you to explain your family’s structure, total income and employment details.

The family structure refers to the number of children and adults in the family and whether any family member is pregnant, has a disability or suffers from an illness.

To provide the CHIP program with the most accurate information possible, it is recommended that you refer to W-2 forms, paychecks and medical documents from a licensed practitioner.

Some states offer an application form that allows you to apply for multiple programs at once.

As an example, the New Mexico CHIP application is also an application for Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), cash assistance programs and more.

This may be beneficial to you if you think you qualify for other benefits.