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Q: High Risk Health Insurance Vendors ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: High Risk Health Insurance Vendors
Category: Health
Asked by: claire1205-ga
List Price: $40.00
Posted: 01 Oct 2005 08:37 PDT
Expires: 31 Oct 2005 07:37 PST
Question ID: 574992
My sisteer is employed part time with no health benefits.  She is
trying to purchase health insurance but was turned down by two vendors
due to high blood pressure and obesity.  She is 49 years old.  When
she turns 50 she will look to AARP to meet her needs.  However, she
needs insurance NOW!  Who sells health insurance for high risk
candidates?  How much more does it cost than "standard" insurance?

Request for Question Clarification by wonko-ga on 02 Oct 2005 09:47 PDT
Which state does she live in?



Clarification of Question by claire1205-ga on 02 Oct 2005 12:25 PDT
Thank you, wonko!  She lives in the state of Illinois.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 02 Oct 2005 14:03 PDT
The state of Illinois has established a comprehensive health insurance
plan for those who otherwise cannot obtain health insurance.  Premiums
are higher than ordinary insurance -- generally 120% to 150% of
ordinary costs --  but the insurance itself should be available.

Illinois state also has an ombudsman's office to assist people in your
sister's circumstances.

I'd be quite surprised to learn that your sister had not already been
referred to these services by the insurance companies that turned down
her applications.

Do you know if she has already attempted to use the state services for
the uninsured?  If so, what was the outcome?


Clarification of Question by claire1205-ga on 03 Oct 2005 18:03 PDT
Thanks pafalafa,

I do not believe she has pursued this option, but I will ask her and
follow up.  Thanks very much.

Clarification of Question by claire1205-ga on 04 Oct 2005 07:14 PDT
Hi, pafalafa,

My sister is completely unaware of this program.  Can you tell us more about it?
Subject: Re: High Risk Health Insurance Vendors
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 04 Oct 2005 08:41 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

Thanks for keeping me up-to-date on the situation.

An overview of government health insurance programs available in
Illinois can be found at this helpful site from the American Diabetes

In particular, take note of the CHIP program:

"The Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan is the Illinois
state high-risk pool. This program allows individual health insurance
policies to be sold to people who might otherwise be considered
"uninsurable" because of a chronic illness. Premiums may be high, and
a pre-existing condition period may apply. Contact the Illinois
Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan for more information..."

A direct link to CHIP is here:
Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan

Your sister or you may also want to contact the State's Insurance
Consumer Ombudsman office, as they will have the most up-to-date
information available on her options.  Foolishly, the program does not
seem to have a direct web site.  But it is described here, and
telephone contact information is provided:
Uninsured Ombudsman Program

The Uninsured Ombudsman Program was established by Public Act 92-331
on January 1, 2002. The purpose of the program is to provide
assistance and education to Illinois consumers who:

--Have no health insurance 

--Are about to lose health insurance 

--Cannot afford to purchase health insurance

The Uninsured Ombudsman Program may be able to assist you by:

--Providing information on state and federal programs that may be available 

--Explaining continuation rights under an existing health plan 

--Providing help on how to shop for health insurance

You may contact the Program by calling our Office of Consumer Health
Toll Free at (877) 527-9431

You may also want to have a look at a site that was recommended to me
regarding health insurance for the hard-to-insure:

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not endorsing the above link, nor do I have any
special knowledge about what they offer.  However, it was mentioned to
me as a useful resource, so I'm passing it on.

I wish you and your sister the best of luck.  If there's anything more
I can do for you, just let me know.  I'm at your service.


search strategy:  [ illinois health insurance uninsured ]
claire1205-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Pafalafa did a good job.  I believe that this answer provides the key
to solving our problem.

Subject: Re: High Risk Health Insurance Vendors
From: pafalafa-ga on 04 Oct 2005 11:23 PDT
Thanks for the kind words...and best of luck.

Subject: Re: High Risk Health Insurance Vendors
From: 4healthcard_lady-ga on 31 Oct 2005 18:31 PST

I agree that Pafalafa did a great job of answering your question.  I
learned a lot in that reply. I sincerely hope that by now you have
coverage in place for your sister.

Sadly, your sister is one of a growing number of people who have been
unable to obtain health care coverage.  Many times people are turned
down by the coverage vendor because of their medical history, "high
risk" factors, or pre-existing conditions.

As you already alluded to and as Pafalafa mentioned in the answer,
when companies DO accept people who fall into those categories, they
often charge a huge monthly premium.  Often the cost of carrying
coverage prevents some from being able to take out the coverage.

Assuming people can find coverage that will take whatever history and
condition is present, and that the people can afford to carry the
coverage, there is a third issue some people must deal with.

Many insurance policies have clauses stating that they will not pay
anything on any treatment related to the pre-existing condition(s)
until the person has been on their policy for a specified period of
time - often 12 months.

Now there is a non-insurance type of medical discount program which is
inexpensive to carry, requires no medical history, takes on existing
and ongoing health problems from day one on the program, and has no
long term committment (no length of "policy" term).

For the person who cannot afford a high risk insurance policy, the
discount program can be a real life saver - literally.  While it may
or may not be what your sister would want to have in the long run,
this type of discount program could be a real blessing if she needs
something to fill in until everything else falls into place.

There is one such program that I am familiar with, and I know it is
available in Illinois.  If you comment back here and request
information, I will pass on more to you. Or, I'm sure that a Google
search on medical discounts - or m.d. plans - or m.d. programs - or
something along that line, would turn up good information and choices
of companies and plans, and I encourage you to do that if your sister
is still in need.

Best Regards, 
Subject: Re: High Risk Health Insurance Vendors
From: claire1205-ga on 04 Nov 2005 11:55 PST
Dear 4hclady,

Thank you for the information.  It is really tough to be insured if
your means are modest.  Fortunately, my sister enrolled in the state
program.  Although it has a $5,000 deductible, it is way better than

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