Compass is Pennsylvania's online application for social service programs that enables an individual to apply for social programs at any time during the day or night from a computer in their home, library, health-care clinic, community center or any location with Internet access. It serves as a single access point for a variety of programs, including health-care coverage, food stamps, cash-assistance benefits, child care subsidies, long-term care and energy assistance.
What Is CHIP?
CHIP is short for the Children's Health Insurance Program - Pennsylvania's program to provide health insurance to all 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 it just costs too much. Whatever the reason, CHIP may be able to help. All families need to do is apply. Visit the CHIP website at
Okay, so what's Cover AU Kids?
Cover All Kids is the initiative that lead to the expansion of the CHIP program. Now, all uninsured children and teens in the commonwealth who are not eligible for Medical Assistance have access to affordable, comprehensive health-care coverage. Now, no family makes too much money for CHIP. It's the same great program, now available to all families.
I thought CHIP was
only for low-income families?
Parents may think their kids can't get CHIP because they make too much money. Not true! CHIP covers all uninsured kids and teens up to age 19 who are not eligible for Medical Assistance. No family makes too much money for CHIP because there is no income limit.
What's the cost for CHIP coverage?
For many families, it's free. Families with incomes above the free CHIP limits will pay low monthly premiums and co-pays for some services.
Who offers CHIP
CHIP is administered by private health insurance companies
that are licensed and regulated by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department and
have contracts with the commonwealth to offer CHIP coverage.
How long is my child
covered once they are enrolled in CHIP?
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 year in order for the coverage to
continue. CHIP insurance companies send renewal notices 90 days before their
benefits are going to end, and families must fill out and send the renewal
information back to their CHIP insurance company in order for benefits to
I recently gained
legal custody of my grandchildren. They are uninsured and need health benefits.
Can I apply for CIDP for them?
Yes! As the legal guardian who is exercising care and
control of the children, you can apply for CHIP.
My child has a
pre-existing condition. Will that affect our eligibility?
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.
Does CHIP have a
No. There is no waiting list to enroll in CHIP.
Why is there a
six-month period of going without insurance for the low-cost and at-cost CIDP
programs, but not the free CIDP program? We cannot afford our private coverage,
do we have to wait to get CIDP?
We understand the hardship and uncertainty this may create
for families in need; however, this period of going without insurance is written
into law so that employers and or consumers would not drop private health
coverage to enroll in a public program. It cannot be waived. All new applicants
who are found eligible for low cost or full cost CHIP (but not free CHIP) must
show that their child has been uninsured for six months unless: the child is
under age two; the child has lost health benefits because a parent lost their
job; or the child is moving from another public health insurance program.
I applied for CHIP
and my children are eligible for low-cost and at-cost CHIP. Why do my children
have to wait six months for CIDP coverage?
Federal law requires that CHIP applicants whose income is
over the free CHIP limits (200 percent of federal poverty guidelines - a family
of four malting more than $41,300/year) have to be without insurance for six
months before being enrolled, with some exceptions. This requirement is part of
the law and is used to prevent employers and/or consumers from dropping private
health coverage to enroll in a public program. CHIP is strictly for families
with no other available health coverage. Please note that the six month period
of uninsurance does not apply to those who eligible for free CHIP. For those in
the low-cost and at-cost CHIP programs, exceptions to the six month rule
include: the child is under age two; the child has lost health benefits because
a parent lost their job; or the child is moving from another public health
I have more
questions. Can I talk to someone about CHIP?
Couldn't find the answer you're looking for? Maybe it's under another category in our FAQ section. Check it out. If your question is still not answered, send us your question and someone will get back to you shortly. Figuring out insurance questions these days can be complicated, but applying for CHIP is simple. Knowledgeable, courteous counselors are available at 1-800-986-KIDS (1-800-451-5886) to assist you. A counselor will also help you sort through the information and can help you apply for CHIP and other social service programs.