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Health Insurance For Kids


SCHIP is a partnership between Congress, the Administration, and the States working together to improve the lives and health of American children. The SCHIP program is the most influential improvement in health care access for children since Medicaid was created in 1965.

In 1997, President Clinton signed the SCHIP statute, appropriating $24 billion over five years, beginning in fiscal 1998, to help States provide health insurance to children in need. The funds cover the cost of insurance, administration, and outreach services to get children enrolled.

The SCHIP program was formed because nearly 11 million American children–one in seven–are uninsured and therefore are at increased risk for preventable health problems.

The SCHIP statute, also known as Title XXI of the Social Security Act, sets the outline of the program’s structure and establishes a partnership between the Federal and State governments. SCHIP gives States three options for covering uninsured children:

  1. designing a new children's health insurance program
  2. expanding current Medicaid programs
  3. creating a combination of both strategies

States are given flexibility in tailoring programs; as a result, each SCHIP plan is different. States have the opportunity to set eligibility criteria regarding age, income, resources, and residency within Federal guidelines.

The Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) works to ensure that States meet the statutory requirements for collecting and reporting financial and enrollment data. They actively provide technical assistance to States for analyzing data, evaluating the effectiveness of plans, and establishing a system to monitor and assure quality in SCHIP programs. States are required to submit an annual report to HCFA and to file their own evaluations of their programs in the year 2000. This report was due on March 31, 2000 and the results will be available by January 2001. The HCFA has posted SCHIP Preliminary Highlights of Implementation and Expansion.

Since the creation of SCHIP, all 50 U.S. States, three territories, and three commonwealths have submitted plans, received approval from the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), and started implementation.