Children's Health Insurance Program

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.

Questions about CHIP?

Below are a few commonly asked questions regarding the CHIP program. If you can't find the answer you are looking for, check our larger FAQ section and/or call a CHIP insurance company in your county.

​CHIP is brought to you by leading health insurance companies. You'll have a choice of major insurance companies with networks of physicians, specialists, and care facilities near you.  Your kids may even be able to keep visiting the same doctors they see today. Find a CHIP health insurance company in your county.

​Children who have health insurance generally have better health throughout their childhood and into their teens. They are more likely to:

  • Receive needed shots that prevent disease
  • Get treatment for recurring illnesses such as ear infections and asthma
  • Access preventive care that keeps them healthy
  • Get sick less frequently
  • Receive the treatment they need when they are sick
  • Maintain better attendance and performance at school

Coverage through CHIP provides your kids with all of these valuable advantages. With CHIP, you can put your children in a better position to thrive and grow into healthy adults.

For most families, it's free. Families with incomes above the free CHIP limits will pay low monthly premiums and co-pays for some services. View comprehensive income information.​

​Recommended vaccines are covered with CHIP. What's more, 96 percent of CHIP parents report they received an appointment for their child's vaccinations as soon as they wanted.

Vaccinations are some of the most important tools available for preventing disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccinations not only protect our children, but also protect the community by reducing the spread of potentially serious diseases.

Most get their necessary shots during childhood. CHIP encourages all parents to view the recommended vaccination schedule to be sure your kids are up to date. 

Vaccine-preventable diseases have a severe impact, resulting in doctor's visits, hospitalizations and premature deaths. Read more about preventive pediatric health care (PDF) and/or visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health's website to learn more.

​​​Parents may think their kids can't get CHIP because they make too much money. Not true! CHIP covers uninsured kids and teens up to age 19 who are not eligible for Medical Assistance.

Children who have health insurance have a better chance of being healthy. Having health insurance will allow you to give them the medical care needed to stay healthy and focus on their studies. Children with health insurance are less likely to miss school because they are sick. By helping them go to school every day ready to learn, you can help boost your child's performance in school today and in the future.

With CHIP, you have a choice of major insurance companies. No matter which CHIP health insurance company you choose, you'll get the same quality service and the same great CHIP benefits.

​​No. There is no waiting list to enroll in CHIP.​

​You'll be able to pick a doctor for your child and see that doctor every time your child gets sick, without having to worry about how you are going to pay for it. Your kids may even be able to keep visiting the same doctors they see today.

Health coverage enables your child to get immunizations and the well-child visits required to attend school and play sports. If your child gets sick, you can get prescription medicines to help them get better quickly. 

Finally, you won't have to sit for hours in the emergency room when your child has an illness that could be easily treated in your doctor's office. 

CHIP kids receive periodic health screenings, which include health education, nutrition and developmental assessment. CHIP kids also receive hearing tests and newborn hearing screens for early detection of hearing loss which, if left untreated, can lead to communication, speech, and learning deficits.

Children with health care coverage are better prepared to learn in school and better prepared to succeed in life.

Once enrolled, children are guaranteed 12 months of CHIP coverage unless they no longer meet the basic eligibility requirements. Families must renew their coverage every 12 months in order for the coverage to continue. County Assistance Offices send renewal notices 45 days before the benefits are going to end, and families must fill out and send the renewal information back to the County Assistance Office in order for benefits to continue.​

​​​Pre-existing conditions are covered. There are no exclusions for pre-existing conditions in CHIP or Medical Assistance. However, if your child has a serious medical condition or disability, he or she may be considered for Medical Assistance.

As the legal guardian who is exercising care and control you can apply for healthcare for your grandchild(ren). Your grandchild(ren) that live with you due to legal adoption may be eligible for CHIP. When you apply for CHIP, your income will only be counted if you have legally adopted your grandchild(ren).