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How Can I Get Health Coverage?

7 health insurance options to consider before you're eligible for Medicare


PCIP stands for preexisting condition insurance plan. If you're denied coverage because of a preexisting condition and have been uninsured for six months, you may be able to get insurance from a federal-state "high risk pool" created under the Affordable Care Act. PCIP insurance will last until Dec. 31, 2013, after which insurance companies will no longer be allowed to reject applicants because of preexisting conditions.

The current PCIP plan offers a broad range of health benefits, including prescription drugs. The costs and types of insurance vary by state but are generally a better bargain than private insurance. Go to this website to see the available PCIP plans.


Each state operates a Medicaid program that provides health coverage for low-income parents, children, older people and people with disabilities. Beginning in 2014, most adults under 65 who have individual incomes up to about $15,000 a year will qualify for Medicaid in every state.

New free preventive health services

As of Aug. 1, 2012, the Affordable Care Act requires health plans to offer about 47 million women eight prevention-related services, without deductibles or copays. The services include well-woman visits, diabetes screening and contraceptive education and counseling. Men and children also are eligible to use various free prevention services.

Community health facilities

The country has about 8,500 of these facilities, which treat about 20 million people a year. The centers serve anyone who walks in, regardless of insurance coverage, providing care for free or at reduced rates, depending on ability to pay. Go to this website for more details on community health facilities.

Stan Hinden, a former columnist for the Washington Post, wrote How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire. Have a question for the Social Security Mailbox? Check out the archive. If you don't find your answer there, send a query.

Remember to go to the AARP home page every day for tips on keeping healthy and sharp, and great deals.

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Thanks to reproductive technology, more women in their 50s are having babies, and more women are overcoming medical issues to become mothers.

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