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 http://houston.mwdbe.com.
For assistance with navigating the system please review the below training links:
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).
- Learn more about the Client Access Program (.pdf)
- Learn more about the Client Access Program (.pdf, Spanish Version)
Please visit the Reports page to view all Pay or Play Reports.
Pay or Play Links
- Departmental POP Liaisons (.pdf, updated 04.21.2022)
- POP Overview Presentation (updated 01.28.2021)
- Executive Order 1-7
- POP Operating Procedures (.pdf, published 02.24.2021)
- POP Operating Procedures, Spanish Version (.pdf, published 04.14.2021)
Pay or Play (POP) Forms
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.
Contractor chooses how they will participate in the POP Program
Filled out and submitted by the successful bidder (Contractor& Subcontractor).
List of all subs participating on the project.
Filled out and submitted by the successful bidder (Contractor).
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.
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)
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.