Understanding the Impact of CHIP on Family-Based ACA Health Insurance

Families with children may qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) if their income meets certain criteria. However, when applying for ACA health insurance through healthcare.gov, the system sometimes estimates that children will be eligible for CHIP and automatically removes them from the family plan. This can affect the premium subsidies and coverage options available to families who wish to keep everyone on the same plan.

How CHIP Impacts ACA Family Size Calculations

CHIP eligibility is based on family size, which means that the children will still be counted in determining the family’s size for ACA purposes, even if they are estimated to be eligible for CHIP. This is because ACA insurance subsidies are determined based on family income and size.

Consequences of Having Children on CHIP

If you decide to keep your children on CHIP, the following consequences may apply:

Reduced Premium Subsidies: Because the children will be taken off the ACA plan, your financial assistance will be adjusted to reflect a smaller family size, which could reduce the premium subsidies you receive.
Higher Out-of-Pocket Costs: Children on CHIP will not be covered by your ACA plan, which means you would be responsible for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred by your children’s medical care.

Balancing CHIP and ACA Coverage

If your children qualify for CHIP but you prefer to have them on the same ACA plan as yourself, you have the following options:

Consider a Bronze Plan: Affordable Care Act (ACA) bronze plans have lower monthly premiums but higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. This may be a more affordable option if your family is generally healthy.
Seek Professional Help: Contact a licensed insurance agent or healthcare navigator to discuss your specific situation and explore your options. They can provide personalized guidance and assist you in making informed decisions.


Navigating the complexities of CHIP and ACA insurance can be challenging. However, by understanding how they interact and the potential consequences, you can make the best coverage decisions for your family. It’s essential to consult with a qualified professional to ensure that you are maximizing your coverage and minimizing costs.

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