Health Insurance for the Uninsured
There are many health care insurance options for the uninsured. Depending on your reason for being uninsured (recently unemployed, employer doesn’t offer insurance, working part time, etc), you will qualify for a health care plan one way or another.
One option for the uninsured is to go with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). Once qualified for this program, you're entitled to receive at least two health insurance policy offers that don’t impose pre-existing condition exclusion periods (varies by state).
To qualify for HIPAA, you must have previously had 18 months of continuous creditable coverage (which also includes coverage through churches or public employers). If you were eligible for COBRA or state continuation coverage, you'll need to take advantage of those programs before you can qualify for HIPAA.
HIPAA also requires that you be uninsured and do not qualify for Medicaid, Medicare or any group plan. Whichever health insurance you are eligible for must be applied for within 63 days of losing previous coverage.
Individual Health Insurance
If you aren’t qualified to get employer insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, individual health care plans are available. Individuals with chronic conditions, like diabetes, may find it hard to get coverage from individual health insurance companies.
If you recently lost your job and had health insurance with the employer, COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986) will allow you to continue your coverage for 18-36 months after leaving. COBRA is excellent for individuals who are between jobs or waiting to qualify for Medicare. Not everyone is qualified for COBRA and previous employers are not required to make premium contributions for COBRA coverage.
Those who can qualify must have been covered under a group health plan from an employer maintaining 20 or more employees. COBRA will cover you, your spouse and child. Most of the time, you will not be eligible for COBRA if you are enrolled in another group health plan (exceptions apply if the other group plan imposes a waiting period or a pre-existing condition exclusion period).