Medical Assistance (MA), Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program, covers a variety of healthcare services from preventive care to hospitalization for low-income residents who do not have access to coverage. There are additional health insurance programs for children with income over the Medicaid limits, such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which connects Pennsylvanians under age 19 to MA providers for low cost care. Even more types of plans are included for people with medical conditions, including PA Fair Care and guaranteed issue coverage from your region’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company. adultBasic is another Pennsylvania health insurance program for low-income individuals over age 19 without coverage, administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield.
There are also resources for those who either have MA or no insurance coverage by using the various free and sliding scale health clinics located throughout the state. People who cannot afford coverage or have citizenship barriers between them and a public health plan can still receive care at many of these facilities. There are eligibility requirements for each state health insurance program, including income limits and residency criteria for programs like MA and CHIP, and citizenship requirements for PA Fair Care. Individual health insurers never ask for documents to prove an applicant’s immigration status, though if you do not qualify due to your health or costs, you may consider using health clinics and being uninsured until you are a legal resident.
Use this section of the site as a resource for Pennsylvania’s public programs.
Applying for Benefits
COMPASS is Pennsylvania’s portal to apply for many types of public assistance, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps), child care, long-term care, medical services and insurance, Medical Assistance programs, home heating assistance (LIHEAP), and others.
Eligible residents can also apply at any local County Assistance Office, regardless of whether a person knows if they qualify or not. Contact a County Assistance Office if you need help filling out your application, which you can also print and send or fax once complete.