Can I buy health insurance if I have a serious illness or a chronic condition?

Coverage cannot be denied under a group health insurance plan, if your employer offers one, nor can you be required to pay more for your health insurance based on your health status.

You may be subject to a preexisting condition exclusion period if you have just purchased a new, individual health plan. This is generally a time during which a health plan will not pay for covered care relating to any condition (physical or mental) for which advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended or received within the six-month period immediately preceding enrolling in the health plan.

If you are HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) eligible, however, you must be offered at least some type of individual health insurance with no preexisting condition periods. To be HIPPA eligible, you must have had 19 months of continuous creditable health insurance coverage, used up any COBRA or state continuation coverage, and must not be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid.