A description of each of these options is provided below with links to more details and for instructions on how to apply.
Medicaid, the Pennsylvania Medical Assistance Program
Medicaid, known as Medical Assistance in Pennsylvania, is a jointly sponsored federal-state insurance program that is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. Medical Assistance coverage is offered to low-income individuals and families who qualify and to the disabled who qualify for benefits. Contact the Welfare Helpline at 1-800-692-7462 or 1-800-451-5885 (TDD) or your Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare County Assistance Office for more information. Here is a listing of the County Assistance Offices. You can apply online for health coverage through the state's online application system, Compass.
Medicare is a federal insurance program for persons over the age of 65, for the disabled who qualify for benefits, or for those who have permanent kidney failure. This program provides health insurance coverage for physician visits, hospitalizations, prescriptions, and some nursing home care. For more information or to apply for Medicare benefits or call the Medicare helpline at 1-800-633-4227.
Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
The State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) provides quality health insurance for all children and teens of working parents who earn too much to qualify for Medical Assistance, yet too little to be able to buy health insurance on their own. CHIP is not welfare and is a way for all children in the state to be able to get quality health care when they need it. Go to the website, or call 1-800-986-KIDS. You can apply online for health coverage through the state's online application system, Compass.
If you have recently been laid off or left a job, you are entitled to continue your existing health coverage at a greater cost to you. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1985 requires health plans with 20 or more employees to offer continued health coverage for the employee and dependents for 18 months after leaving a job. Individuals must assume the full premium cost. Contact your previous employer for more information.
The U.S. Department of Defense administers a regionally managed healthcare program for active duty members and their families, retired members of the uniformed services, and survivors of all uniformed services who are not eligible for Medicare. To access information on TRICARE.
Veterans Health Coverage
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers health coverage and services to enrolled veterans. CHAMPVA, the VA Civilian Health and the Medical Program, covers spouses and children of veterans who have a permanent, service-connected disability or who died as the result of a service-connected disability. Contact the Veterans Health Administration Center at 1-877-222-VETS or access benefit information.
Pennsylvania Department of Health
State Health Centers
The Pennsylvania Department of Health operates six district offices and county-based State Health Centers. For more information on programs and services through the Pennsylvania Department of Health and to find a State Health Center located near you.
Other Sources of Healthcare Information
See the following for more information on healthcare services that you or your family may be eligible for:
State and National Health Resources