Office of Business Opportunity

Pay or Play Program (POP)

The City of Houston’s Pay or Play (POP) program was created to level the playing field during the bid process for vendors, as the cost of providing insurance or failure to provide insurance to employees may influence the bids submitted by vendors for City work. Further, the POP program seeks to offset the cost of caring for uninsured residents in Houston and Harris County. The POP program requires that City of Houston contractors either contribute prescribed amounts to the Contractors Responsibility Fund (CRF) for their uninsured employees (PAY) or provide their employees a minimum level of healthcare benefits (PLAY). The CRF is used to support health programs such as the Client Access Program (CAP), the Emergency Telehealth and Navigation Program (ETHAN) and the Call Crisis Diversion Program (CCD), as well as costs associated with administering POP. Collectively, these health programs provide affordable emergency medical resources, access to health benefits and assistance with finding social and medical services for City contractors and the uninsured.

The Office of Business Opportunity oversees the administration of POP in partnership with each departments POP Liaison. For more information or assistance please contact your contracting departments POP Liaison (pdf link below).

POP Management System
POP is managed through an online Workforce Utilization Module developed to collect and analyze POP reporting activities and generate POP invoices. Contractors may access the Workforce Utilization Module at

Client Access Program
Pay or Play Program (POP) has partnered with the Houston Health Department to provide Health Benefits/Services to uninsured individuals through the Client Access Program (CAP).

Please visit the Reports page to view all Pay or Play Reports.

Pay or Play Links

Pay or Play (POP) Forms

POP-1. Pay or Play Acknowledgement

Contractor acknowledges POP Program and agrees to comply if they are the successful bidder

Filled out and submitted with bid packet by all contractors and subcontractors that are bidding on a contract that requires them to comply with POP.

POP-2. Certification of Compliance with Pay or Play Program

Contractor chooses how they will participate in the POP Program

Filled out and submitted by the successful bidder (Contractor& Subcontractor).

POP-3. List of Participating Subcontractors

List of all subs participating on the project.

Filled out and submitted by the successful bidder (Contractor).

POP-4. Contractor / Subcontractor Waiver Request

Used as a request for a particular contract that qualifies for a waiver. (Waived upon OBO approval)

Filled out and submitted by the contracting Department only.

POP-7. Quarterly Play Option Report

A form for Play contractors to report play employees working on project.

This form will be completed by contractor and submitted to POP Liaison on a quarterly basis.

POP-8. Employee Waiver Request

POP-8. Employee Waiver Request (Spanish Version)

A request that an employee be waived from the POP Program requirements. Provides a possible exemption for certain employees that are offered health benefits, but refuse the offer.

This form will be completed in its entirety by the contractor or subcontractor and employee; and also notarized. (Waiver granted on OBO approval)

POP-9. City of Houston Pay or Play Self-Insured Request

A form for a contractor that is requesting to be considered a self-insured company (Granted upon OBO approval)

Filled out and submitted by the Contractor with supporting documents.