Health Insurance For The Uninsured


Written by K. Thor Jensen in Health
Viewed by 20 readers since 07-07-2009

It’s a sad but true fact that the growing epidemic of health crises in America can be traced back to the egregious mismanagement of care by the insurance industry. Unlike more civilized countries who have the decency to socialize medicine, care in the States is controlled with an iron grip by a tiny group of companies that decide who gets covered and who has to pay through the nose. If you’re in the unlucky latter group, whether your insurance isn’t covered by your employer or you just don’t have an employer at all, there is still hope. A number of programs exist to provide health insurance and preventative care to those trapped outside the system. In this article, I will introduce you to some of them and get you back on the road to health and peace of mind.

First, if you have lost your coverage due to losing your job, you are eligible for the program known as COBRA. Passed with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, this program allows you to continue your current coverage at the same cost that your employer paid. Because these costs can often be high, a recent stimulus package was passed in Congress that can cover up to 65 percent of the insurance cost for as long as nine months. This can be the best way to ensure continuity in service and allow you to not go through the trouble of changing doctors, et cetera.

If you still cannot afford COBRA coverage, or the allotted period is about to expire, there are a number of private and public options of varying costs to explore. One organization that does a lot to help the self-employed is the Freelancer’s Union – a membership allows you access to not only their job searching resources, but also participation in their excellent health plan. My family used their services for nearly a year and we had absolutely no complaints with the quality of care we were given.

In addition, most private insurers offer a variety of plans for individuals and families. There are a number of concerns to take into account when shopping for a new health plan – what are your medical needs? Are you suffering from a pre-existing condition? Do you require vision or dental coverage as well? For a typical American family on a budget, the wisest choice is what is termed a “catastrophic” plan – offering a high deductable, this is primarily designed to help families out when faced with major health crises and illnesses. These plans typically do not cover well visits, but in most of the country the standard well visit fee is fairly minimal.

If you are in a financial situation that prevents you from investing in even that level of coverage, do not hesitate to turn to the government to assist you in obtaining medical care. Although some balk at letting “Big Brother” pay the bills, you’re a lot more valuable to your country healthy than you are sick. Every state in the Union offers some form of subsidized low-income health care, from Massachusetts’ guaranteed coverage to less comprehensive plans elsewhere. These programs are paid for with your tax money, so you should use them if you need to. And if President Obama’s sweeping healthcare reforms come to pass, we could all be using them soon enough.


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