Baton Rouge –Annual changes in Federal Poverty Level guidelines that go into effect this month make more children eligible for the Louisiana Children’s Health Insurance Program (LaCHIP), by allowing their families to earn more income. Since the program began more than five years ago, more than 21,000 families have been denied coverage because their income was too high.  In the past 11 months alone, since the last annual income increases, more than 4,000 families have been denied coverage due to excess income and in many cases because their income just slightly exceeded the limit.

  LaCHIP Partners with Office of Group Benefits

Throughout the month of April, LaCHIP representatives will be attending over 100 state employee health plan open enrollment meetings sponsored by the Office of Group Benefits in nearly every parish of the state. For many lower income state employees, family health insurance coverage is unaffordable, with premiums ranging from 10 to more than 30 percent of their gross monthly income. A calendar of the meetings that LaCHIP representatives plan to attend is on the Web site at:

“One of the commitments our agency made at the Governor’s health care summit was to work toward enrolling all eligible children into LaCHIP,” said Dr. Frederick P. Cerise, LDH Secretary. “With the new cost-of-living adjustments, uninsured children in families who were previously right over the limit may now be eligible. We strongly encourage these families to reapply today.

According to the state Medicaid program, there are currently 96,955 children enrolled in LaCHIP, while an additional 210,414 children were added through traditional Medicaid since intensive outreach efforts began in late 1998.  A survey conducted by the LSU Public Policy Research Lab in 2003 notes that 14 percent (more than 70,000) of children who qualify for LaCHIP still were uninsured.

Annual income changes also increase for the following health coverage programs every year on April 1:

  • By implementing income guidelines that match those put in place for LaCHIP, the LaMOMSprogram makes proper prenatal care available to more pregnant women. LaMOMS, which was implemented at the beginning of 2003, provided approximately 4,000 additional women with prenatal care during its first year in existence (e.g. A family of three, including the couple and their unborn child, can earn around $2,700 a month and still qualify for services).
  • The Medicare Savings Program (MSP) helps low-income seniors and people with disabilities who don’t qualify for full Medicaid benefits pay their Medicare premiums and co-payments. Those who qualify can save $799 in Medicare premiums each year.  Nearly 250,000 people in Louisiana are eligible to receive help through MSP, but only half actually participate (e.g A couple with limited financial resources receiving $1,400 a month or less would be eligible for premium payment through MSP) .


  • The Medicaid Purchase Plan (MPP), helps citizens with severe disabilities work and keep or get Medicaid health care benefits. The program, which began Jan. 1, just began enrolling citizens during the past month after LDH received final federal approval (e.g. an eligible person with a monthly countable income of less than $1,871 can qualify for full Medicaid services).

F or more complete income guidelines or to obtain an application/renewal form, visit the newly revised Medicaid Web site at: