WVCHIP -- West Virginia Children's Health Insurance Program

Every West Virginia child deserves health insurance. And now, as a West Virginia teacher, you can help them get it. During the week of September 20, each school in West Virginia will receive information packets on the WV Children's Health Insurance Program (WV CHIP) from your county school board office. Each packet includes interesting and timely health material that can be used as a teaching tool. Most importantly, each packet needs to go home to every child in your school. Parents must receive the packet and complete the application to become eligible for the program.

WV CHIP is a new program that provides health insurance for uninsured children. It provides health insurance coverage for working West Virginians who may make too much for WV Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance. Many children in your classrooms may be eligible.

As a teacher, you play a crucial role in the success of this program. You can help in three ways. First, you can use the insert to teach students about health. By using some of the articles in the packet, you will promote good health habits and awareness. See our related article on "Teaching Tips From CHIP."

Second, you can help ensure that children get this information to parents. Parents must complete the application to qualify, and to do that they must get the packet. Teachers in each grade level can use specific ways to make sure parents get the packet:

*** Elementary school teachers can use a check-in system or other incentives to make sure children get an application to their parents. Include the packet with other important information parents need to see and respond to, if possible. Tell children this is an important paper to get home to their parents.

*** Middle and high school teachers can ask students to write something about the packet in their planner to remind them to give it to parents. Teachers of older students should also tell students about the importance of the packet.

Third, you can make a special effort to talk with parents who may qualify for the program. As a teacher, you are in a special position to know what parents may qualify for this program. Please emphasize that WV CHIP is not a welfare program, but a health insurance program for working families. For specific guidelines, see the packet or the "WV CHIP Guidelines" article.

Thanks for your help in this effort. If your school does not receive the packets, contact your local board office or call 1-877-WVACHIP, that's 1-877-982-2447. You can also e-mail WV CHIP at wvchip@wvdhhr.org.