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Free Health Insurance in Texas

Health insurance in Texas typically costs between $300 and $1,000 per month. In Texas, you can take advantage of several free health insurance options depending on your eligibility based on income, family status, and where you reside within Texas. Some of the free health insurance options in Texas include:

  1. Health insurance coverage as a dependent on the health insurance plan of a spouse or parent
  2. Texas Medicaid Services
  3. Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  4. Health Insurance Premiums Payment Program
  5. STAR Managed Care Program

Texas residents who do not qualify for free health insurance may get affordable health insurance for as low as $50 a month. They may also qualify for other affordable health insurance options in Texas through subsidies and discounts. Discuss your coverage with a licensed insurance professional, who can assess your need and recommend the cheapest options to get health insurance.

Is There Free Health Insurance in Texas?

Yes. There are government-sponsored free health insurance plans in Texas. Some ways to get free insurance include:

The Texas Medicaid Program

The Texas Medicaid Program is a joint effort between the state and the federal government that offers low income earners health insurance. The program was created to protect the health of those who are unable to afford healthcare for themselves and their children. To participate in the Medicaid coverage within Texas, you must be a Texas resident with a level of income under the published caps. Medicaid eligibility varies based on several factors; you would need to fit into at least one of the criteria below to qualify:

  • Pregnant
  • Have custody of a person younger than 18
  • Blind
  • Have a disability yourself or
  • Be the age 65 or older

To qualify for the program, you must meet the maximum household income level, which is updated annually.

There are no open enrollment periods for Texas Medicaid; so you can apply online for the program at any time within the year. The medicaid program drastically improved the application outcomes for young black adults and hispanic trauma patients, making for a more inclusive state because the maximum income limits captured more people from this demography.

Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The CHIP program is designed for the children of Texans who earn more than the maximum allowed to qualify for the Medicaid program, but cannot afford private health care. While the CHIP program is often free for qualifying participants, the maximum a household will pay is $50 annually for each eligible child. However, most families spend no more than $35. To get the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for free in Texas, you need to determine whether your family is eligible for the program. Eligibility is based on factors such as family income, household size, and citizenship status. To confirm your eligibility for CHIP and apply online, visit the official online screening tool.

Once you have applied, the Texas Health and Human Services will review your CHIP application and determine your eligibility. If you are eligible, you will receive a notice in the mail with information about your health coverage and the next steps.

For some services, you will also be required to make additional co-payments. Your family size and economic level will determine those charges. CHIP typically allows for health coverage with very low or no out of pocket costs. CHIP typically covers:

  • Medical visits
  • Oral hygiene and dental care
  • Medications
  • Glasses and eye maintenance
  • Medical attention
  • Audiometric testing
  • X-rays

To qualify for free health insurance through the CHIP program, you must qualify based on the annually adjusted maximum household income level of 201% to 413% of the Federal Poverty Level%2C%20TA%2077%20and%20TP%2070).

To qualify for TX CHIP, you must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Be younger than 18
  2. A pregnant woman of any age
  3. A Texas resident
  4. A citizen of the United States of a legal permanent resident

CHIP is a program offered under the Medicaid program, and you can register once eligible at any time since there is no special enrollment period.

Health Care Coverage Obtained through dependency on a spouse or parent

In Texas, employers with more than 50 full-time employees are required to provide health insurance to their employees. Typical employers cover 50% to 100% of the employees’ personal premium.

Employer-sponsored health insurance also usually extends health insurance to employee’s spouses and children under the age of 18 years old. In some cases the employer covers the extra premium, in which case the coverage is free, but in most cases the extra premium is covered by the employee.

Texas Breast and Cervical Diagnostic Program

This program offers free health coverage to women between 18 and 64 years old who are uninsured and categorized as low-income earners with a household income at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. (In 2023 this meant earning below $29,160 in a household of one, or $39,440 in a household of two)

The program allows participants to qualify for free breast and cervical testing, screening, and diagnostics.

Special Health Care Needs Program

The Special Health Care Needs (SHCN) Program in Texas is a program for children with chronic illnesses or conditions like cystic fibrosis that require ongoing medical treatment. To qualify for the SHCN Program in Texas, a child must:

  • Be under the age of 21
  • Be a Texas resident or a U.S. citizen or qualified alien
  • Have a chronic illness or condition that requires ongoing medical treatment
  • Meet the income eligibility requirements for Medicaid or CHIP in Texas

Note that eligibility criteria may change over time and vary depending on the specific program and the available funding. You may contact the SHCN on:

Texas Medicaid Healthcare Partnership-CSHCN Services Program

Phone - (877) 888-2350

8 am - 5 pm (Central Time), Monday - Friday


The CSHCN’s Mailing Address is:

CSHCN Services Program

MC 1938

P.O. Box 149030

Austin, TX 78714-9947

You can also call the Program Helpline number ((800)-222-3986) to ask questions about eligibility requirements, case management services, application renewal, or family support services.

Other free healthcare options in Texas include:

  • The HIV Medication Program (THMP): This program is available to provide free medication for Texas residents living with HIV.
  • Vaccines for Children Program: This program operates across Texas, offering highly reduced medications for children from families that are underinsured or uninsured.

How Can I Get Free Medical Care in Texas?

You can get free medical care in Texas mainly through government-sponsored health plans like Medicaid. To register for Medicaid in Texas, visit the “Your Texas Benefits” website and create an account. You must be a Texas resident, a U.S. citizen, or a qualified alien. State your income, household size, and personal information. Once you have completed the application, you will be notified of your eligibility and can enroll in Medicaid if you qualify. To participate in the Medicaid program in Texas, you must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • 65 years old, or over
  • Your family’s income must be below 138% FPL (in 2023: $20,120 for an individual and $27,214 for a household of two).
  • Have a disability or a family member in your household with a disability
  • Blind or have a disability or have a family member in your household that has a disability
  • Pregnant
  • Be responsible for a child 18 years old or younger

In Texas, you can apply for Medicaid at any time if you are eligible since there is no special enrollment period. You can apply in person by submitting a paper application at any of the local offices of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). When visiting a local HHSC office to apply for Medicaid, it is recommended that you bring the following documents:

  1. Proof of identity: e.g., state-issued ID, driver's license, passport, or other government-issued ID).
  2. Proof of residency: e.g., utility bill, lease agreement, or other official document showing your current Texas address.
  3. Proof of income: e.g., pay stubs, tax returns, or other documentation that shows your current household income. If you are self-employed, you may need to provide additional documentation, like a profit and loss statement.
  4. Proof of citizenship or immigration status: e.g., a U.S. passport, birth certificate, or other official documents that prove that you are a U.S. citizen.
  5. Proof of disability or medical condition: If you are applying for Medicaid due to a disability or medical condition, you may need to provide medical records or other documentation that shows the nature and extent of your condition. They will be able to assist you with the application process and answer any questions you may have.

Where it is impossible for you to access free health care services, you can utilize the marketplace coverage that provides competitive free or low cost insurance plans.

Who Qualifies For Free Healthcare in Texas?

Several groups of people qualify for free healthcare in Texas through Medicaid. These include:

  1. Children and young adults aged 19 or less who come from low-income families
  2. Pregnant women with low income
  3. Adults who are disabled or blind and have low income
  4. Adults who are 65 or older with low income
  5. Individuals who are legally present in the United States and have low income

Additionally, Texas has a program called the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP provides free health insurance for children in families who earn more than the maximum income allowed to qualify for Medicaid but still can't afford private insurance companies.

It is important to note that the eligibility criteria for Medicaid and CHIP vary based on income and family size, so it is recommended to check the website of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission or contact a local office for more information on specific qualifications.

What Is the Maximum Income to Qualify For Free Health Care in Texas?

The maximum income you should earn to qualify for free health care in Texas through Medicaid or CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) varies depending on other factors, such as household size and pregnancy status. The cutoff for Texas Medicaid is 138% of the Federal Poverty Line, while children can receive free coverage, even if their parents make over 200% of the FPL. The income limits are adjusted annually and also vary by program.

These limits change based on household size and family status. It is recommended to check the website of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission or contact a local office to submit a paper application when you wish to apply and get the most up-to-date information and estimates of how much you may qualify for. Those who do not qualify can access low cost health care services via the marketplace coverage. Discuss your health insurance options with a knowledgeable health insurance today.

Does Texas Offer Free Medicaid?

Yes. Texas offers free Medicaid and eligibility is based on income and other factors. Individuals and families may be required to pay a portion of their health coverage cost if they do not meet the income requirements. Certain groups, like children, pregnant women, and individuals with disabilities, may qualify to get Medicaid free of charge.

What Happens If You Don’t Have Health Insurance in Texas?

If you do not have health insurance in Texas, you will have to pay the total cost of your medical care, which can be expensive and may prevent some individuals from seeking care. However, there are also options for getting comprehensive coverage for most people who are not insured, for example, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and community health clinics, amongst several other options.

To find out about other free or low cost health insurance, speak to a licensed Texas health insurance agent.