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What are the government health insurance options?

What are the government health insurance options?

The U.S. government provides health insurance to more than one-third of Americans.[1] The most popular government health insurance options include:

  • Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Medicare
  • Tricare and Veterans Administration

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that, together with the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), provides health coverage to over 72.5 million Americans.[2] It is the single largest source of health coverage in the United States. 


Medicaid is a state-run medical program for people who have low-income and limited resources.  To be eligible for Medicaid, you must meet the state’s eligibility requirements.

For an example, check out Utah’s Medicaid website.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, is a state-run health insurance plan for children. To be eligible for CHIP, a child must be:

  • Under 19 years of age
  • Uninsured
  • A citizen or meet immigration requirements
  • A resident of the state
  • Eligible within the state’s CHIP income range

For an example, check out Utah’s CHIP website


Medicare is the federal health insurance program for:

  • People who are 65 or older
  • Certain younger people with disabilities
  • People with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD)

Medicare covers more than 45 million Americans, which is almost one-fifth of the U.S. population. [3]


TRICARE is a health program for:

  • Uniformed Service members and their families
  • National Guard/Reserve members and their families
  • Survivors
  • Former spouses
  • Medal of Honor recipients and their families
  • Others registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS)

TRICARE plans vary by beneficiary category. For more information, see the TRICARE website.


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