How to Get Free Health Insurance in Pennsylvania

by Damien Thryn

Health insurance is one of the most expensive necessities in the United States. With premium costs often increasing more than 10 percent each year and fewer employers willing to offer health benefits, free health insurance in an economically hard-hit state such as Pennsylvania is highly desirable. There are several programs in Pennsylvania that offer free health coverage to qualifying individuals. There are 50 Medicare plans available in Pennsylvania according to and the State of Pennsylvania Department of Human Welfare says that its COMPASS program offers a single access point to claim and renew a number of state offered benefits, including health coverage. With the costs of health insurance rising, many individuals hope to get free health insurance in Pennsylvania, so it is best to act quickly to claim benefits in order to expedite processing.

Navigate to the Pennsylvania COMPASS homepage located on the Pennsylvania Department of Human Welfare website. Either Firefox or Internet Explorer is required to use the online application.

Click on the "Apply for Benefits" link in the top right corner of the COMPASS homepage. This link is located under the "Get Started Now" tab.

Fill out and submit the online COMPASS application. Enter the relevant social security numbers in the appropriate fields and refer to the most recent pay stub or tax return for income and employer information.

Direct the web browser to the federal Medicare homepage and click on the fourth link from the top under the "Getting Started" header titled "Apply Online for Medicare Now".

Fill out and submit the online Medicare benefit application by entering all relevant information including social security numbers and employer information from the most recent pay stub or tax return. The application link will redirect the browser to a Social Security Administration webpage, but this is normal.

Print any application confirmation information offered by either site and file in a safe location. Confirmations will contain important information including contact details and next steps if additional documentation is required.


  • Have as much information on hand with copies made of supporting documentation pertaining to income, citizenship, age, any disability, family members and health history. This will expedite the process.
  • The Medicare application through the Social Security Administration is not only useful for those reaching the retirement age. It also serves as an application for social security insurance benefits which may be offered to individuals with qualifying disabilities.
  • Call the agency if there are any difficulties with the online application process or any questions come up when filling out the application. Individual help is available if needed.
  • Contact local health insurance providers and ask if they have any special programs offering reduced-cost health insurance. Some insurers operate charity programs that reduce or eliminate premiums for qualified individuals.


  • Make every effort to secure some form of health-care coverage prior to dropping existing coverage, even if it is expensive. Gaps in coverage can make it difficult to obtain health coverage at a later date.
  • Be accurate when reporting any information on applications. Oversights or mistakes can result in an application being denied.

Items you will need

  • Internet connection
  • Internet or Firefox web browser
  • Pennsylvania COMPASS homepage
  • Social security number
  • Most recent pay stub or tax return
  • Federal Medicare homepage
  • Printer

About the Author

Damien Thryn holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. Specializing in writing on video games, he has played PC games for more than 20 years and has written about many classics. He is also an avid console gamer.

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