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Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Updated: Apr 26


About CHIP


CHIP is short for the Children's Health Insurance Program – Pennsylvania's program to provide health insurance to uninsured children and teens who are not eligible for or enrolled in Medical Assistance. Regardless of the reasons your children might not have health insurance, CHIP may be able to help you.


What is CHIP?


CHIP is short for the Children's Health Insurance Program, Pennsylvania's program to provide health insurance to uninsured children and teens who are not eligible for or enrolled in Medical Assistance.


There are a lot of reasons kids might not have health insurance maybe their parents lost a job, don't have health insurance at work, or maybe other options just cost too much. Whatever the reason, CHIP may be able to help.


NINE OUT OF 10 CHIP parents report satisfaction with their child's health plan, and 96 PERCENT received an appointment for checkups and vaccinations as soon as they wanted. Apply today.


A Brief History of CHIP


On December 2, 1992, former Gov. Robert P. Casey signed into law House Bill 20 (HB 20), better known as the Children's Health Insurance Act. The legislation initially was sponsored by Rep. Allen G. Kukovich (D) in the House, and Senator Allyson D. Schwartz (D) in the Senate.


HB 20 created the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a one-of-a-kind program designed to provide insurance coverage to children whose families earn too much to qualify for Medical Assistance, but who could not afford to purchase private insurance.


Pennsylvania's CHIP program would later be used as the model for the federal government's CHIP program. Legislation for the federal CHIP program was signed into law on Aug. 5, 1997, by former President Bill Clinton.




Applying online with COMPASS


In Pennsylvania, you can apply for or renew your CHIP benefits online using COMPASSOpens In A New Window, an online application for health and human services.

Through COMPASSOpens In A New Window, you can apply for:

So, how do I sign up?


You're ready to apply. Great! Before you do, you will need the following information handy:

  • Income amounts for your entire household before taxes: This includes income from employment and all other forms of income (for example: social security, pension, workers' compensation, unemployment, etc.)

  • Social Security Numbers and birthdates for all applicants

  • Private health insurance information (if you have or have had private health insurance in the last 90 days)

It's fast and easy!

Is there a Cost?


Most families receive CHIP coverage for free. Others can get the same benefits at a low cost. If your income is below the lowest amount listed, your child or teen may be enrolled in Medical Assistance.


Whether CHIP is free or low-cost depends on the number of members in the household, as well as total household income. For free CHIP, there are no premiums or copays. Premiums and copays apply for low-cost CHIP.


Households with incomes above a certain level can receive comprehensive, quality CHIP coverage at a low cost.


View the CHIP Income Guidelines Chart 2020.pdf to see the average monthly cost per child.

The income chart helps families determine which category they may qualify for free or low-cost CHIP. CHIP has created a page.pdf displaying the rates by the insurance company.

Remember: If your income is below CHIP limits, your family could be eligible for Medical Assistance.


Reasons to be Insured

When surveyed, most CHIP parents see positive health results.

  • Overall, 9 OUT OF 10 parents report satisfaction with their child's health plan

  • 94 PERCENT of parents report they were able to access urgent care services for their child as soon as necessary

  • 92 PERCENT of parents report they were able to obtain an appointment for their sick child within 24 hours

  • 96 PERCENT received an appointment for check-ups and vaccinations as soon as they wanted

  • 99 PERCENT of parents report their child saw the dentist in the last six months

  • 93 PERCENT are pleased with the time doctors spend with their child

  • 93 PERCENT said they're pleased with the helpfulness of the staff

  • 97 PERCENT of parents report their child's doctor treats them with respect

  • 92 PERCENT of parents reported it was easy to get care, tests, or treatment for their child


Success Stories


When surveyed, most CHIP parents see positive health results.

  • Overall, 9 OUT OF 10 parents report satisfaction with their child's CHIP health plan

  • More than 9 OUT OF 10 CHIP parents report they were able to access urgent care services for their child as soon as necessary and were able to obtain an appointment for their sick child within 24 hours

  • 93 PERCENT said they're pleased with the helpfulness of CHIP staff

  • 96 PERCENT of parents report their child's doctor treats them with respect

  • 99 PERCENT of parents report their child saw the dentist in the last six months



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