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Where can I get affordable health insurance?

Health Insurance Forum

Dec. 26, 2007

Question: I recently lost my job and my unemployment only covers my mortgage. I'm a widow with grown children and I don't qualify for any government assistance. COBRA rates are just too high. Where can I get affordable health insurance?

Rae, Illinois

Answer: Dear Rae,

You have two options: Find alternative coverage through a group health insurance plan (either through another employer or a trade or alumni association) or obtain an individual health insurance policy. Read Health insurance basics. Be aware, however, that individual health insurance may be no less expensive than COBRA and it may be difficult for you to qualify if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma or diabetes. See Tips for buying individual health insurance.

Unfortunately, you have joined a growing group of older Americans who find themselves without health insurance before age 65 — the point at which you become eligible to receive Medicare. Whether due to poor health, job loss, or death of a spouse, many such as yourself may be forced into early retirement with limited health insurance options. Read Health insurance options for early retirees.

Call your state insurance department to find out if your state has an assistance program for dislocated workers. To find the department's contact information, select the state in which you live from the pull-down menu at the top of this page.

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Disclaimer: We are journalists, not financial planners or insurance brokers. Nothing we say should be interpreted as a recommendation to buy or sell any insurance product, or to provide other financial or legal advice.

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