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Your Health Care Coverage: Information on Health Insurance

Health Insurance Medicaid & Medicare

This article provides information on health insurance basics.

Health care coverage helps people pay for certain costs when they get sick or injured.

This article is adapted from the website of the Texas Department of Insurance and, with added references to additional sources.

How do most people get health insurance?

  • Through a job or spouse’s job, if the employer offers it
  • Through a parent’s plan until age 26
  • A government program like CHIP, Medicaid, or Medicare
  • College, if a student plan is offered
  • Through a membership, union, or church
  • An insurance company or agent
  • Federal Health Insurance Marketplace

What is group insurance?

Insurance you get through your job or an association is group insurance. Most people get insurance through their jobs, but not all employers offer it.

What is individual insurance?

Insurance you buy directly from a company or the health insurance marketplace is called individual insurance.

For lists of companies and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) that sell individual health insurance in Texas, visit the Health Care Coverage Guide by the Texas Department of Insurance.

Can I add my family to a work health plan?

Check with your employer about adding your family to a work healthcare plan. If you buy from an insurance company or the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, you can buy a plan that also covers your family.

To learn more about healthcare plans through work, visit the Health Care Coverage Guide by the Texas Department of Insurance. 

To learn more about the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, see

What is the federal Health Insurance Marketplace?

The federal government operates the Health Insurance Marketplace, available at To find out if you are eligible for premium tax credits and other savings, visit Healthcare.govIf not, you may qualify for coverage through another government program, such as Medicaid.

What is CHIP and Children’s Medicaid?

CHIP is a health care program for children without health insurance whose families earn too much to get Medicaid but cannot afford health insurance. Children’s Medicaid is a healthcare program for children in low-income families.

For more information about options, and to find out about eligibility, visit the website of Texas Health and Human Services. Also, visit

Where can I learn more about eligibility for government healthcare programs?

To buy through the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace, visit call 800-318-2596.

For information about government programs in general, visit

Also, for more information about Medicaid and CHIP, see For further information about Medicare, see

When can I buy a health plan?

The open enrollment period for the federal Insurance Marketplace is generally from November 1 to December 15 each year for coverage that starts January 1. There is also a limited time when you can enroll in due to a life event or special circumstances like losing coverage, getting married, having a baby or based on your estimated household income. See

With Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), you may apply at any time. Learn more at

For individual and work-based plans, learn more at Texas Health Insurance on the website of the Texas Department of Health Insurance and check out the Health Care Coverage Guide by the Texas Department of Insurance. 

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