In 1997, Congress established a new Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expand coverage to children in low income families. States were presented a choice: expand the Medicaid program, use an established private health insurance plan, or put together a combination of both.
CHIP in Georgia will be a program administered by the state Department of Medical Assistance, the Medicaid agency, but created as a separate program and not an expansion of eligibility for Medicaid. The program is called PeachCare for Kids. Between 113,000 and 140,000 children up to age 19 who don’t have insurance are eligible for PeachCare.
PeachCare for Kids
If you’d like a brochure or more information as a healthcare provider in PeachCare for Kids, or because you think your children might be eligible, call this toll-free number:
1-877-GA PEACH (1-877-427-3224) or visit the website at www.peachcare.org
You may also apply online at www.peachcare.org
Uninsured children are eligible for PeachCare for Kids’ benefits if their families’ incomes are less than or equal to 200% of the Federal poverty limit. That ceiling equals $32,900 for a family of four.
Families with children 6 years old or older will be charged a monthly premium for the cost of coverage, $10 for one child, $20 for two children or more in one family. No premium will be charged for children 5 years old or younger.
The plan will pay for preventive services and acute medical care, as well as vision and dental care. Children enrolled in PeachCare for Kids will have the same choice other children in Georgia Medicaid do: to use the agency’s primary care case-management program, Georgia Better Health Care (GBHC) or enroll in a managed care organization.
Under the Federal requirements for the CHIP plan, outreach efforts to enroll Georgia children eligible for PeachCare benefits also helps identify and enroll children who are already eligible for Medicaid under current state guidelines but who have not previously enrolled or applied for Medicaid benefits.
Current estimates of Georgia’s uninsured population set the number of children without healthcare coverage at 369,795. Many of those children may be eligible for Medicaid under current eligibility guidelines but their families are either unaware of that eligibility or have not taken advantage of its availability.
The Federal legislation that created the CHIP program was included in the Balanced Budget Act passed in July 1997. The law established the CHIP program for 10 years, and allots almost $4.3 billion a year up to the year 2001. The Federal/State match for the funds will equal approximately 73% federal to 27% state dollars, a larger federal share than "regular" Medicaid allows.