Today is the First of July- so that means that another part of the healthcare insurance reform that was passed this year starts to provide benefit.
If you have been denied coverage (pre-existing condition) and been without insurance for six months or more, you can apply for high-risk pool insurance. That means you HAVE to have a DENIAL letter from an insurance company. It may NOT mean if you were told you could have insurance but it would cost too much money that you are now guaranteed eligible for the high-risk pool. (Some states have a law on the books that require insurers to cover everyone regardless of pre-existing condition; for those states you will have to demonstrate that your costs under that plan are considerably higher than the high-risk pool now starting.) Four years from now, all insurance companies will have to cover everyone, regardless of previous medical conditions; but for now, this pool is only for those who have been denied coverage.
You also MUST be a legal resident or an American citizen- no ands, ifs, or buts. You will apply to the Federal government if you are from the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming. You can apply as of today; if you complete the application by 15 July, you will have insurance by 1 August.
The Federal government has decided NOT to print a bunch of brochures. That is so yesterday. Instead, you can drift over to www.healthcare.gov for information on the program, the entire insurance reform regulations, and assorted other items.
If your state is NOT listed above, then you will apply directly with the high risk pool being started by your state (or the District of Columbia). Each jurisdiction will announce when they are accepting applications. Neither California nor New York (among others) will be taking any applications for at least 30 days. They ARE required to process applications by Fall. It is rumored that you can find information about your state on the federal website listed above.
The premiums have not been set- and, as is true for conventional insurance, they will differ by state. The range could be from $150 to $ 1000 a month, vary by age, and vary by benefits.
There are additional problems. The two laws allocated $ 5 billion for the high risk pools. It is probable that demand will be high- and there will be insufficient money to cover the risk. HHS (Health and Human Services) has stated that they will keep taking applications from all eligible applicants; they believe that some states will not use all their allotted funds and will forfeit them to the other needier (or greedier) states.