APPLYING FOR HEALTH INSURANCE
You can help families enroll their children in Medical Assistance and CHIP in many different ways depending upon how much help a family needs.
1) Application assistance over the phone
Applying over the phone with Children First’s trained navigators is an easy way for parents/caregivers to easily navigate application questions and understand which family documents need to be submitted. This is an excellent option for families who don’t have internet access or a computer, whose primary language is not English, or who are concerned that their immigration status makes them ineligible. Language interpretation is available, and all interactions are confidential, secure, and FREE.
Families can also apply over the phone through state offices or through community-based organizations:
Pennsylvania Medical Assistance Consumer Services Center:
Pennsylvania CHIP Consumer Helpline
Refer parents to Children First's Child Health Helpline
Get FREE help applying for coverage over the phone, in any language at
2) Online Applications at the State’s COMPASS Website
Pennsylvania operates a statewide portal for public benefits known as COMPASS. Send families with internet access who can navigate on their own to the COMPASS website: www.compass.state.pa.us.
With COMPASS, Families Can Apply for More Health and Human Services Benefits
In addition to applying for Medical Assistance and CHIP, families can use the COMPASS website to apply for cash assistance, free or reduced-price school meals, Food Stamps (SNAP), Home and Community Based Services as well as other state and federal benefits.
3) Paper Applications
Some families prefer a paper application to avoid giving their private information over the phone. You can download and print applications for them. Note that the state may take longer to review a paper application due to mailing and data entry times.
Download and print the paper application for Medical Assistance here: https://www.dhs.pa.gov/Services/Assistance/Documents/Benefits%20Applications/PA%20600%20HC%20%e2%80%94%20Health%20Care.pdf
Download and print the paper application for a CHIP health plan:
Keystone Health Plan East:
KIDZPartners (Health Partners Plans):
UnitedHealthcare Community Plan:
Any application works to enroll children in health insurance!
Medical Assistance and CHIP work together to enroll eligible children. If a family applies to one program but is actually eligible for the other program, the application will be transferred. Families do not have to apply again.
4) Apply In-Person
Families can go to their local County Assistance Office (CAO) and apply in person for Medical Assistance and other benefits such as SNAP. The CAO is the local eligibility office operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS).
If families need coverage right away, the CAO may be the fastest way to enroll in Medical Assistance. Families should bring proof of a month’s income, Social Security numbers and immigration documents, if appropriate. Language interpretation is available.
Find CAO addresses here: https://www.dhs.pa.gov/Services/Assistance/Pages/CAO-Contact.aspx
To help a parent/caregiver or a teen older than 18 apply for coverage, see Section 6, Appendix B – How to Apply for Medical Assistance and CHIP. Appendix B provides step-by-step directions, tips, and detailed descriptions of information needed and what counts as proof.