Are you among the many Americans who does not have any kind of health insurance at all? Did you lose your health insurance because you lost your job, because you cannot afford it, or because your insurance company went out of business? If you need some help finding health insurance, there is a government website that can help you do that. Really!
Healthcare.gov is the website that has been created by the federal government to be a source of information regarding the new changes in health care reform. You can find a timeline that tells you what changes have already taken place, and what to expect next. You can use this website to find out what your health insurance options are. There is a series of questions for you to answer, mostly by clicking on the answer that best describes your situation. You will be asked what state you live in. Soon, you get to a page that gives you some suggestions about where you may be able to go in order to find health insurance. If you are someone who has no idea where to start researching health insurance options, this website is a good place to start.
It is not a health insurance exchange. While some states have started working on creating the exchanges, many have not. The exchanges will not be ready until 2014. Until then, that website can be used as a resource to help you find health insurance that fits your needs, and your budget, right now. I tried this out today, just to see what results I would get. I searched for health insurance for an individual who was “healthy”. I indicated that the reason I was having trouble finding health insurance was because I cannot find a policy that I can afford.
What did the website tell me? Well, it didn’t find me a health insurance policy. Instead, it located several health care clinics that are located in my town, or in several towns that are within about an hours drive or less. One of them is called “Health Care For The Homeless”. I am not homeless, so this result doesn’t do me any good. However, it turns out that there is a Community Health Center, and a Community Health Center for women that provide health care for people who do not have health insurance. They have a sliding scale for people with extremely low income, and an established fee schedule. A person can get both medical and dental care from these Health Centers. I didn’t know these health care facilities existed!
I would have preferred that the website find me affordable health insurance right now. It might be more useful if I was searching for health insurance and had a pre-existing condition, or was interested in providing coverage for a child who was under the age of 26, because those changes have already taken place. However, if I find that I need medical care before 2014, when the exchanges are supposed to make it easy for people like me to find affordable health insurance, I now know I can at least try to get help from one of these local Health Centers.
Image by Kathea Pinto on Flickr