By Barry Waxler
There is a gap between the income level that makes a family eligible for Medicaid and the ability to afford private health insurance. What is the Children's Health Insurance Program? It is a way to make sure that no children fall through that gap.
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a joint Federal and State funded health insurance designed to provide health insurance to children in families that do not qualify for Medicaid, but are still financially unable to afford private health insurance. The increasing cost of health care and the resulting increase in private health insurance premiums have created a "coverage gap" and Medicaid being a Government program is too often slow to respond.
This has left many children among the millions of uninsured Americans and this has been unacceptable. Children have special medical needs that include immunizations and dental care that is essential to give them a fair chance to grow into healthy adults. It is this assumed right of all children to have an equal opportunity for a healthy start to life that has led to many Government sponsored programs and the Children's Health Insurance Program is one of them.
The Insurance coverage provides funds to allow children to have medical treatments. It encourages preventive medicine above all else. The coverage pays for routine checkups, dental examinations and cleaning, and immunizations. The funding is based on the Federal Government making matching contributions based on the contributions of the individual States. The Children's Health Insurance Program varies from State to State. Some States have already extended the program to include all children. Low income children get the insurance at no cost, and the rest have to pay only a small premium.
One of the best things about the Children's Health Insurance Program is the fact that it has focused so much on preventative medicine. Although hospitalization and all of the other standard and emergency treatments are covered, it is the idea of providing coverage that encourages routine checkups, immunizations, and dental examinations that have made the Children's Health Insurance Programs innovative in the Insurance Industry.