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About the Healthy Families Program - Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Vision care, dental care, and comprehensive health coverage are among the low-cost health insurance benefits that your children will receive when you enroll them in the Healthy Families Program which is otherwise known as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP.

The bill for this program was sponsored by Senator Ted Kennedy in a partnership with Senator Orrin Hatch with support coming from the former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton during the Clinton administration. In 2007, after President Bush and Congress could not agree on CHIP reauthorization details, the program was extended through March 2009.  In February 2009, the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 was approved by Congress and signed by President Obama.

The Healthy Families Program is administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The program was designed with the intent to cover uninsured children in families with incomes that are modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid. $20 billion is allocated to States over a 10-year span. States receive an enhanced federal match (greater than the state's Medicaid match) to provide for this coverage.

The purpose of the program is to provide health care to children and teens from low-income families and individuals. Children who are enrolled in the program are eligible for any health care service that is covered and is deemed medically necessary. Pregnant women can also have certain services covered by the program. Proof of birth such as a hospital certificate of birth is to be sent in within the first 30 days after the birth of the baby. The health benefits include physician services, preventive care, prescription drugs, maternity as well as inpatient and outpatient hospital stays. Dental benefits include preventive care such as cleanings every six months and fillings when needed. Vision benefits include eye examinations and prescription glasses every 12 months.

Individuals and families who have children enrolled in the Healthy Families program will pay a small premium each month. The cost will vary depending on the size of the family, income levels and the type of health plan that was chosen. Premiums can range from $4-to-$17 for each child with a maximum limit of $51 for all children enrolled in the program. A co-payment of $5 is also required when services are rendered.

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