The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a similar program to Medicaid in the way that it is a partnership between the federal government and states to provide health care coverage to children whose families do not meet eligibility criteria for Medicaid coverage but may not be able to afford private insurance. States design and administer their own CHIP while adhering to federal requirements in order to receive federal funding. Some states have determined to keep CHIP separate from their own state-based Medicaid programs while others have expanded their Medicaid programs to allow for coverage under CHIP. Similar to Medicaid, each state differs in what is covered under CHIP and how much services cost; however, all states provide coverage for pediatric vision care.
Unlike Medicare or Medicaid, CHIP needs to be reauthorized by Congress to continue providing coverage to children. Currently, CHIP reauthorization expires in Fiscal Year 2023 after its current authorization from Fiscal Year 2018 expires. Advocacy efforts are already underway to not only reauthorize CHIP (and to ensure that a lapse in coverage does not occur as it did when CHIP expired in September 2017 and was not reauthorized until February 2018) but to make CHIP a permanent program. Prevent Blindness has consistently advocated for CHIP to become a permanent program by aligning our efforts with numerous children’s groups in coalition advocacy initiatives.