Health Insurance: How To Obtain
Because of the Affordable Care Act (sometimes referred to as "Obamacare"), you can obtain individual health insurance despite your health condition. There may even be help available to pay premiums. To get individual health insurance, and to find out about help to pay premiums, you do not have to be a detective. The federal government has a web site that describes insurance coverages in each state. See: www.healthcare.gov . (For information about the steps we advise taking when choosing a health insurance policy, click here.)
Before making a decision about an individual health insurance policy, consider whether you may be eligible for other health coverage that is less expensive, more comprehensive, and/or is accompanied by someone who can go to bat for you if needed such as a Human Resource (HR) department in a large company.
- Look at whether you may be eligible for health coverage under a government program such as Medicare (for people 65 or older or who have been collecting Social Security Disability Income), Medicaid (a means based program for which you can give assets away and qualify if necessary), or coverage from the Veterans Administration if you are a veteran or family member of a veteran.
- If you work:
- You may be able to get health insurance through your employer during an "open enrollment" period - a period of time during which no health questions are asked.
- If you employer doesn't have health benefits, or good enough benefits, you can change jobs despite your health history thanks to a law known as HIPAA. For information about how to find an employer with the benefits you want, click here.
- If you are a small business owner (1 or more employees) or self employed or a professional, you may be able to obtain health insurance because of your business or through an association. There are professional and business associations as well as associations based on hobbies or other interests. For information, see:
If none of the above works for you, consider taking a drastic step to obtain health coverage - such as getting married if you're not. With a serious health condition, health insurance can literally be the life saver door to the medical care you need now or may need in the future. For steps to consider, click here.
- If necessary, you may be able to purchase a short term health insurance policy to cover until you are eligible for more permanent coverage. Short-term health insurance policies generally exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions but are worth check into. To learn about short term health insurance policies, click here
- If the process thinking about health insurance policies is difficult for you, think about working with an insurance broker who understands your health situation on the one hand and the insurance market on the other. To learn how to choose and maximize use of a good insurance broker, click here.