Even if you have a medical condition, you might be able to buy coverage at a higher-than-standard rate, which is better than no coverage at all.
Find a patient, independent insurance agent who's willing to walk you through the options, Callahan says. The National Association of Health Underwriters provides an online tool to find agents.
Compare the costs and benefits of available plans, and don't forget to check whether your doctor and hospital are in the provider network. Here's how to buy the worst health insurance plan ever: 7 scenarios to avoid.
Government programsCan't afford coverage? Check whether you qualify for Medicaid, the federal and state health insurance program for low-income people. The Foundation for Health Coverage Education provides information about other programs in your state. If you're uninsured and don't have access to employer-sponsored coverage or COBRA, then you might qualify for the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, a federal program created under the Affordable Care Act. To qualify, you must have been uninsured for at least six months and have a health condition that makes it difficult to qualify for a private individual health plan. You foot the bill for the premium. Are you turning 65? Then you're eligible for Medicare. Go to Medicare.gov to learn about your options. Your own business Consider getting coverage through your own business if you're self-employed. Even tiny employers can qualify as "groups" for the purpose of buying health insurance. In California it takes just two people to be a group, Callahan says.