CHIP in South Carolina

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The South Carolina Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a partnership between the federal government and the South Carolina state government that provides low-cost health care for children living in households whose earnings fall within certain thresholds. Although many often wonder, “Is CHIP considered Medicaid?” households that qualify for CHIP often have incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to afford private health insurance for their children. CHIP assists in filling this gap. Although SC CHIP is funded in part by the federal government, the law allows states to adapt the implementation of their programs, giving them the freedom to decide which benefits to cover, as well as what price to set for the program’s insurance premiums. Additionally, states may decide to offer the CHIP program through an expansion of their Medicaid offerings, as a separate program or as a combination of both. The following paragraphs provide essential information regarding South Carolina’s CHIP, including its benefits, eligibility requirements and application options.

Overview of CHIP in South Carolina

South Carolina CHIP and Medicaid enrollment is offered through one simple service. This is due to its being one of 10 states that currently implement the Children’s Health Insurance Program through an expansion of Medicaid. As a result, CHIP in SC falls under the umbrella of the state’s Medicaid program, which is offered under the name South Carolina Healthy Connections (SCHC). However, to qualify for strict Medicaid eligibility children must live in households meeting slightly lower income requirements.

“What is covered by CHIP Medicaid?” is a question asked by many residents interested in applying for CHIP, better known in the state as Partners for Healthy Children (PHC). Services covered by CHIP in South Carolina includes comprehensive coverage benefits like immunizations, prescriptions, doctor visits, dental care and more. There is no special enrollment period for enrolling in CHIP or Medicaid, so parents and guardians may apply for their children through PHC at any time.

What is CHIP Medicaid in South Carolina?

Since the South Carolina Children’s Health Insurance Program is implemented through Medicaid, the two programs are closely related, although there are distinct income requirements for each. South Carolina offers its Medicaid for children program through SCHC, which also administers Partners for Healthy Children (PHC), South Carolina’s CHIP program. Conversely, South Carolina families whose children receive SC CHIP or Medicaid assistance must choose their plans through PHC. Although this system can seem complicated, it offers South Carolina residents the convenience of applying for health care for their families using just one or two channels. This is especially convenient for households whose members may be unsure of what benefits they qualify for, as Medicaid for children, CHIP and private health insurance offer distinct benefits and have different and mutually exclusive income eligibility requirements. To learn more about the CHIP and Medicaid programs, you can download our comprehensive guide today.

Who is eligible for CHIP in South Carolina?

To enroll in South Carolina CHIP and Medicaid benefits through Healthy Connections, children must live in households that have an income at or below 208 percent of the poverty level. CHIP eligibility guidelines also require applicants to be residents of South Carolina and younger than 19 years of age. In order to receive benefits, children who are not U.S. citizens must be lawful permanent residents, and their parents or guardians must be able to provide proof of the child’s immigration status. Since SC CHIP is administered through an expansion of Medicaid, those enrolled in Partners for Healthy Children (PHC) will have access to all Medicaid-covered services. However, the health plans they may choose from, whether directly through Medicaid or through CHIP, depends on their household’s income.

How to Apply for CHIP in South Carolina

Those interested in applying for CHIP in South Carolina have multiple options for doing so, and applicants may turn in an application whether or not they are sure of their children’s eligibility. Parents or guardians of children who are already covered under a health plan may still apply for coverage through PHC, as their children could be eligible for lower-cost or even free health care coverage. Enrolling in CHIP or Medicaid for kids through PHC will not impact immigration status.

In order to apply for SC CHIP and children’s Medicaid coverage, South Carolina residents will need a Social Security Number or document number to prove citizenship or legal presence, as well as income information for their entire household, including paystubs, W-2 forms or tax statements. The South Carolina CHIP and Medicaid application will also need the policy numbers for any current health care plans and information regarding any health insurance coverage available to the family through work. In addition to including themselves, applicants applying for health care must also include:

  • Children 21 years of age or younger who currently live at home.
  • Those listed on their tax returns regardless of place of residence.
  • Unmarried partners in need of health coverage.
  • Any dependents.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) uses income information to determine qualification for health coverage and to offer help on paying for coverage. All information will be kept secure and private.

Petitioners can apply for CHIP and Medicaid coverage online or by mail. Those with more questions about how to apply for the Children’s Health Insurance Program in South Carolina may also have access to in-person application counseling also available in certain areas. Additionally, those interested in CHIP for their children have the option of applying for coverage through the federal government’s Health Insurance Marketplace, which will determine eligibility for the program and send the application to the relevant state agencies.

PHC online applications are available at the SCDHHS website. To apply by mail, residents may print blank applications to fill out and send to SCDHHS at:

SCDHHS – Central Mail
PO Box 100101
Columbia, SC 29202-3101

You can download our complimentary guide to learn more about applying for CHIP and Medicaid.