What about health care?

A medical emergency without medical insurance could be devastating financially. Take the time to study your rights under COBRA to continue group health benefits.

The U.S. Department of Labor explains the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) at www.dol.gov/dol/topic/health-plans/cobra.htm or call (866) 487-2365; TTY (877) 889-5627.

Private health insurance also is available and there are affordable plans. It can take 30 to 60 days to secure coverage; be prepared to elect coverage if there is a medical emergency.

Begin evaluating your options for health insurance immediately. Experts recommend waiting to turn down COBRA until after you have secured another plan.

•In Illinois, the All Kids program provides comprehensive health insurance to every uninsured child at affordable rates. Children with pre-existing conditions are accepted. Care includes doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, vision care, dental care and medical devices like eyeglasses and asthma inhalers. Parents pay monthly premiums for the coverage. For complete information, go to www.allkids.com.

•Illinois Department of Health’s local clinics provide many services, from immunizations and well-baby checks to vision and hearing testing, health awareness information, dental sealants and health screenings (blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and other chronic diseases). Find your local agency at www.idph.state.il.us/local/alpha.htm.

•The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program offers women breast and cervical cancer screenings and treatments for free if they meet the eligibility requirements. Learn more about the program at Cancerscreening.illinois.gov or call the program’s Women’s Health Line at (888) 522-1282 or TTY (800) 547-0466.

•The Illinois WISEWOMAN Program aims to lower heart disease and other chronic disease risk factors. This screening and a lifestyle intervention program help women improve their physical and emotional well-being. Eligibility requirements can be found at www.idph.state.il.us/about/womenshealth/wise.htm.

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