Common Good Iowa

Let’s Celebrate: CHIP Provides 25 Years of Coverage!

Posted on August 10, 2022 at 5:00 PM by Kelli Soyer

In 1997, Congress established the bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This critical piece of legislation provides health care coverage for children in lower-income working families who do not qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford — or don’t have access to — private health insurance.

CHIP is an excellent example of how public policy can better the lives of people who otherwise would miss out.

CHIP is a federal-state partnership. Its flexibility for states has allowed Iowa to create a program to best meet the needs of families. Modeled after Iowa’s Medicaid plan, Iowa’s program, called Hawki (Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa) provides access to robust health care coverage.

Hawki provides children with access to critical services, including inpatient and outpatient hospital services; well-baby and well-child visits; immunizations; prescription drugs; mental health and substance use services; vision, dental, and hearing services; and more.

Throughout the last 25 years, Iowa has increased Hawki’s eligibility levels and now serves children with family incomes up to 302 percent of the federal poverty level ($69,552 for a family of three). Depending on family income, some families pay a premium.

In FY2010, Iowa added a dental-only option to cover children who have private health insurance but limited or no dental coverage. Depending on family income, families may be subject to a premium. Iowa is a leader among states in the share of children who are uninsured. Iowa decreased the number of uninsured children from 5 percent in 2009 to 3 percent in 2019.

During FY 2020, Hawki covered more than 101,000 Iowa children. Hawki and Medicaid together covered approximately 46 percent of Iowa’s children.

Health insurance is essential to a healthy childhood. Research shows when kids are  covered, they are more likely to be ready to learn, do better in school, go to college, and succeed in life.

As we mark the 25-year anniversary of CHIP, we celebrate this historic, bipartisan commitment to caring for our nation’s kids.


Kelli Soyer is Senior Policy Advocate at Common Good Iowa, specializing on analysis and advocacy to improve health care systems for all Iowans.

Categories: Health

Tagged As: CHIP, Hawki

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