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Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility

Medicaid and CHIP provide health coverage to nearly 60 million Americans, including children, pregnant women, parents, seniors and individuals with disabilities. In order to participate in Medicaid, federal law requires states to cover certain population groups (mandatory eligibility groups) and gives them the flexibility to cover other population groups (optional eligibility groups). States set individual eligibility criteria within federal minimum standards. States can apply to CMS for a waiver of federal law to expand health coverage beyond these groups.

Many states have expanded coverage, particularly for children, above the federal minimums. For many eligibility groups, income is calculated in relation to a percentage of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). For example, 100% of the FPL for a family of four is $23,550 in 2013. The Federal Poverty Level is updated annually. For other groups, income standards are based on income or other non-financial criteria standards for other programs, such as the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

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