For the person who is suddenly uninsured and who may not have time to wait for the health care system to be reformed, what are the options?
The first step is to gather information from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as state and local agencies, to find out precisely what options might be available to individuals and their families. Whether out of embarrassment or fear of inadequate care, many people will fail to explore these options. In fact, depending on the state or local initiatives, there may be ways to get low-cost or no-cost services without fear of substandard care. The resources exist, but it will take research on the individual’s part to find out what the options are.
Another option may be to seek out a professional organization that offers its members health insurance at group rates. These programs can offer relatively reasonable coverage. More important, since the coverage is group rather than individual, there is less danger that the insurance company will discontinue the program (many companies that used to make individual private insurance available have stopped, citing rising costs). Local business associations, community organizations, Chambers of Commerce, and similar groups may have something to offer. It is hardly a perfect solution, but it is better than carrying no insurance.
Unfortunately, this is a problem that has no easy answers and many, many different approaches to “fixing” the problem. The most important step that anyone, insured or uninsured, can take is to try to keep informed about the options. There is no shortage of information, and identifying the best sources will at least provide some of the tools necessary to better understand an increasingly complex issue.