Question: I'm searching
for the names of specific insurance agencies/professsional
organizations that provide health insurance to self-employed
in-dividuals with pre-existing health conditions. If you know of
such sources, would you be willing to share? My research on this
question last year revealed no available plans, affordable or
Answer: The first place you should check out is your local chamber of commerce. Some chambers have done a good job of securing group health plans for their members. In California, by force of law, small businesses with two insureds can get insurance. Check to see whether your state has a similar requirement.
Also check any trade associations you belong to-some offer no-qualification group plans. Those we have seen charge higher rates, so check with all trade associations you're eligible to join. In addition, several organizations serve as conduits in offering health insurance for the self-employed, including the National Association for the Self-Employed (www.nase.com, 800-232-6273), Small Business Service Bureau (www.sbsb.com, 800-222-5678) and Support Services Alliance (www.ssainfo.com, 800-322-3920).
Before buying any insurance plan, make sure it offers the coverage you need, even if making sure means consulting a lawyer. Also verify that the company is licensed to do business in your state.
Small-business experts Paul and Sarah Edwards' latest book is The Practical Dreamer's Handbook(Putnam Publishing Group). If you have a question regarding a start-up business issue, contact them at www.paulandsarah.com or send it in care of Entrepreneur.