I’m a 33-year old male with a wife and kids, in good shape but with a family history of heart disease. I want to quit my job soon, which means I will give up my group insurance. If I receive treatment for heart issues now because of serious chest pain, will I become uninsurable in the future?
Heart of an Entrepreneur
Dear Heart of an Entrepreneur,
It’s a two-part answer: For 2013, it depends upon where you live. In 2014, there is one answer for every state in the U.S.
So, first for the remaining months of 2013: Look up your state on the Guaranteed Issue List of States. If there is a “yes” in the first column after your state, then insurers cannot refuse to sell you a plan. In these states, there is no such thing as uninsurable. If there is a “no”, then look at the third column to see what other options there are in your state. There might be programs for people who have been turned down for health insurance, who have high likelihood of certain diseases, etc.
In 2014, no health insurer in any part of the country can turn you away. If you do leave your job, don’t let your health insurance lapse: insurers are not required to take all comers except during open enrollment (which starts in October of this year). As long as you don’t have a gap in your health insurance, you should be able to buy a non-group or “individual” plan any time.