I know some people here aren't lucky enough to have been insured when this disease came knocking, and I'm one of them. Actually I had insurance for about 10 years that I cancelled a year ago because I NEVER got sick the whole time, nothing, so I figured saving $100/month during tight financial times might be a good idea... BACKFIRE!!! Now I'm scrambling to find something before I have to get into the really expensive treatments/surgeries.
Obviously with pre-existing conditions, group plans are the way to go. Unfortunately for me, WalMart or Starbucks or many of the places (that I could qualify to work at) that provide these policies are minimum wage jobs that require a minimum amount of weekly hours to qualify. Not to mention, with this disease, missing work can certainly jeopardise your employment, as well as worring about job cuts, layoffs, etc. I'm a bartender, making very decent money working a very flexible 3-4 nights a week. Been doing that for 10 years now, and taking a major pay cut would really hurt. At the same time, not having insurance with this disease is pretty daunting.
I've come across one possibility that could possibly solve my insurance problems as well as letting me keep my current job without having to work double-time at 2 places. GMAC Realty has now started offering group insurance to all of their agents. This is very appealing because real estate agents are independant contractors, meaning you're your own boss, you work your own schedule, often from home, and no getting fired or laid off (granted you don't do anything illegal or unethical). In fact, many real estate agents do this profession part-time on the side of other jobs. Attaining a real estate license is slightly different in every state, but overall pretty simple, quick and inexpensive. Usually you can take a full-time 1 week class, or part-time 2 week class ($400-$600), then pass a state licensing test and that's it. Once you have your license you must find a broker to hang your license under, in this case, GMAC. You pay the broker a monthly fee to hang your license there and for the use of their resources, as well as a percentage of the commission you make on any real estate transactions you close. I'm not sure what GMAC's monthly fees or commission splits are, every broker is different. My roommate used to be with KellerWilliams and I believe she paid around $100/month plus a 70/30 commission split (in her favor) which increased (in her favor) as she made more transactions throughout the year. Even if you don't want put forth the effort to make a career out of real estate, it's very feasable to get a few sales just from family, friends, friends of friends etc... And at 3% per deal, a $200,000 home would put $6000 extra in your pocket (less your broker's cut). That would easily pay for a year's worth of broker's fees and a good chunk of the insurance premiums.
I still have to look more into this for exclusions and limitations but on the surface it looks like a good way to go for me personally. Here's a link to the GMAC article: