CHIP in Minnesota

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Many Minnesota residents are curious about the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) when looking into health care insurance options for their minor dependents. CHIP came into effect in 1997 as a way to help children have affordable health insurance coverage. This program is designed to help children who come from families that make too much to qualify for Medicaid enrollment. Even if adults in a family do not have Medicaid eligibility children in the household can still get CHIP medical benefits. Since CHIP and Medicaid enrollment in Minnesota seem similar, many applicants often ask themselves, “Is CHIP considered Medicaid?” when applying to the program. To answer this question and find out how to apply for CHIP in Minnesota, read the following information on this page.

Minnesota’s Children’s Health Insurance Program Overview

What is CHIP Medicaid in Minnesota? CHIP in Minnesota is part of the MinnesotaCare program. While CHIP and Medicaid provide similar coverage for enrollees, the programs have different eligibility requirements. Qualifications of Minnesota Medicaid for children living with parents or guardians are dependent on financial and medical criteria. As a means to provide minors in the state with affordable health care, the eligibility requirements for CHIP are not as stringent as the requirements for Medicaid enrollment.

After applying for Medicaid, MN parents may receive a denial notification that they do not qualify for assistance, but their children do. Once enrolled in CHIP or Medicaid, recipients will have access to medical and health care providers in network. Recipients are free to choose their primary care physician and any other medical professional as long as he or she is in network. Since out-of-network services will not be covered by the program, beneficiaries should try to stay in network whenever possible.

To learn how to apply to Medicaid for children and who qualifies for program enrollment, download our comprehensive guide.

Is CHIP considered Medicaid in Minnesota?

The Children’s Health Insurance Program in Minnesota is an extension of the Medicaid program. What is covered by CHIP Medicaid is often the same, although the cost for coverage will vary between the programs. Medicaid ineligible children can still be covered under this program if they meet the qualifications for CHIP. The main difference between these two programs is that Medicaid recipients do not have to pay a premium to keep their health benefits while those on MinnesotaCare do. CHIP recipients may have to pay a small portion of the price of their medical care. Medicaid costs for coverage are nominal or nonexistence since these beneficiaries have the fewest resources and highest medical need, whereas those who are eligible for CHIP have higher household incomes.

Who is eligible for CHIP in Minnesota?

The Minnesota Children’s Health Insurance Program is for minors who are younger than 19 years of age and U.S. citizens or qualifying legal aliens. Unlike Medicaid for children, application cannot be under the coverage of another insurance policy. Petitioners must also come from households with incomes within the program’s limits. Income level is the largest determining factor for enrollment, as those with very low income can qualify for Medicaid for children instead of CHIP. Income is looked at in regard to household size. For example, those in a smaller family will have lower income criteria than those with larger families.

These guidelines are only for CHIP enrollment, as adults who meet the guidelines for enrolling in other MinnesotaCare programs will not be considered to be part of the CHIP program. In most cases, pregnant women with Medicaid eligibility will be able to be enrolled in the Minnesota Medical Assistance program.

What services are covered by CHIP in Minnesota?

Minnesota CHIP covers many vital and preventative services. The following medical services are covered by CHIP and Medicaid in Minnesota:

  • Doctor’s and emergency room visits
  • Immunizations, laboratory tests and X-rays
  • Vision and hearing exams
  • Dental and mental health care
  • Medical supplies

Even though two different programs manage CHIP and Medicaid enrollment in MN, the types of services covered by them are the same. Those enrolled in Medicaid for children and have disability may be entitled to more services because of their advanced medical needs. Adults enrolled in the MinnesotaCare program will have to pay for copayments associated with most medical services they receive. Children with CHIP eligibility will not have to pay for any copayments. 

How to Apply for CHIP in Minnesota

Applying for CHIP benefits in Minnesota is a simple and straightforward process. You can apply for CHIP online by creating and logging into an online account managed by the state government of Minnesota. Once logged on, you can apply for medical benefits and get more information about the program. The CHIP application can also be printed out and mailed to your local county office. Applicants will have to provide proof of their income, identity and citizen status when applying to the CHIP program.

Please allow three to four weeks for your application to be processed. Those with an online account can get customer support through the state website if a month has passed and they have not received a reply. Both Medicaid and CHIP enrollment can be applied for using the same methods.

For comprehensive information about the requirements to apply for Medicaid, download our detail guide.