A friend of mine has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Her insurance company is ending all plans by the end of 2013. What are her options at that time? Can she qualify for Affordable Care in 2014?
Future Survivor’s Friend
Dear Future Survivor’s Friend,
As of January 1, 2014, insurers cannot turn anyone away for health insurance and they cannot charge a person more, based upon her health. So, your friend will be able to buy health insurance. If she is unable to work or her income goes down because of her illness, she may also qualify for help paying for a plan and paying deductibles and co-pays.
It sounds like there will be no COBRA plan available, if the insurer is ending its plans. Normally, COBRA coverage would be the first choice to consider. Without COBRA, she might want to consult a financial advisor and insurance agent to help her choose a plan that meets her needs. With a significant illness, the “normal” rules of choosing a plan — one that balances monthly cost against reasonable co-pays, etc. — won’t really apply to her.