You should first check whether your state offers a high risk insurance plan. Currently 35 states have major risk health insurance pools. Of those 35 states that offer high-risk policies, 27 states offer multiple plans for people who are unable to obtain individual health insurance policies due to a pre-existing condition. Contact your state’s Department of Insurance, or the Cancer Legal Resource Center (www.cancerlegalresourcecenter.org) for more information.
If your state does not offer a high risk plan, and you have been without health insurance for at least six months, you can apply for the Federal Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP). In order to be eligible for a PCIP, you have to be 1) a US citizen, or lawfully present in the United States, 2) unable to get insurance on the private market due to a pre-existing condition, and 3) without health insurance for 6 months prior to enrollment. For more information about this plan, please visit www.pcip.gov.
Another potential option would be to apply for Medicaid in your state. Eligibility requirements vary from state to state. There are two main parts to Medicaid eligibility. First, applicants to Medicaid must meet income and asset eligibility requirements, meaning they have a low income and limited assets to pay for the cost of their health care. Second, applicants must fit into one of the Medicaid eligibility categories, such as the “Aged, Blind, and Disabled program” or some individuals with breast and cervical cancer. In 2014, Medicaid eligibility will be expanded to include all low-income individuals who are below 138% of the Federal Poverty Line (133% of the FPL + a 5% income disregard).
Otherwise, another option would be to look up a Hill-Burton facility in your area. Facilities that participate in the Hill-Burton program have agreed to provide a reasonable volume of services to patients at a free or reduced cost. To find a Hill-Burton facility in your area, please visit:http://www.hrsa.gov/gethealthcare/affordable/hillburton/