Although many people don't realize it, the Affordable Care Act included a provision to set up insurance plans in every state for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions. The law set aside $5 billion to subsidize these programs, which states had the option of establishing and running themselves. The federal government set them up in states that declined to do so.
These "high-risk pools" are designed to offer comprehensive health insurance to people who have been uninsured for at least six months and are geared toward people who have been turned down for coverage in the private insurance market. The pools have drawn criticism for setting premiums too high, but in most cases, the premiums are far less than plans for high-risk individuals would cost on the open market.
The biggest problem with the high-risk pools, though, is that they haven't been heavily marketed and many people who would qualify don't realize they exist. The largest enrollment is in Colorado, which has just 700 participants, according to the Washington Post. So if you are or have been critically ill and are uninsured, investigate your state's high-risk pool. It could be a good option.
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