Program History

The Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) serves as the focal point for all national program policies and operations related to Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Basic Health Program (BHP). These critical health coverage programs serve millions of families, children, pregnant women, adults without children, and also seniors and people living with disabilities.

Medicaid

Authorized by Title XIX of the Social Security Act, Medicaid was signed into law in 1965 alongside Medicare. All states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories have Medicaid programs designed to provide health coverage for low-income people. Although the Federal government establishes certain parameters for all states to follow, each state administers their Medicaid program differently, resulting in variations in Medicaid coverage across the country. Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act provides states the authority to expand Medicaid eligibility to individuals under age 65 in families with incomes below 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and standardizes the rules for determining eligibility and providing benefits through Medicaid, CHIP and the health insurance Marketplace.

In 2015, Medicaid celebrated its 50th birthday by posting program highlights, research findings and the voices of our beneficiaries in 50 days of postings.  

Children's Health Insurance Program

The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was signed into law in 1997 and provides federal matching funds to states to provide health coverage to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but who can't afford private coverage. All states have expanded children's coverage significantly through their CHIP programs, with nearly every state providing coverage for children up to at least 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

Basic Health Program

The Basic Health Program was enacted by the Affordable Care Act and provides states the option to establish health benefits cover programs for low-income residents who would otherwise be eligible to purchase coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, providing affordable coverage and better continuity of care for people whose income fluctuates above and below Medicaid and CHIP levels.