I began working straight out of college. That’s when my three children transitioned from Medicaid to CHIP. It was a challenge, because the transition meant co-pays, monthly premiums, and choice in picking my own doctors— but it was something I needed to do for my children, and for myself. It took a lot of leg work finding providers that accepted CHIP and budgeting in the new monthly expenses. That extra work was worth it because my son was having seizures and
I was able to get the medications prescribed for him without any hassle.
I learned not to rely on my gross income, but rather on my net income: the idea of "living within your means." Every year, I had to re-apply for CHIP. As my income went up, the cost of CHIP premiums and out of pocket expenses increased. It was in 2004, when I made 0.97 cents over CHIP's income qualification, that I enrolled my children for health and dental coverage through my employer sponsored insurance.
CHIP is a great program for families that are inching their way out of poverty. It gave me a sense of responsibility and ownership of my children's health needs, while working on my long term goal to move out and away from the system towards self-sufficiency.