If you have a pre-existing medical condition and are shopping for health insurance, expect special treatment.

How special? Well, kind of like a felon carrying the Ebola virus. You may as well stick a “kick-me” sign on your back. You’ll either be denied coverage, charged extra for premiums and out-of-pocket costs, or you might just have to abide a conditional waiting period.

The good news is that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law last year will help individuals with pre-existing conditions. But not until the start of 2014.

Until then, you should look into the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), the federal version of high-risk insurance pools. To qualify, you must have been uninsured for six months, have a pre-existing condition, and have been denied insurance by a private insurance company.

Details vary depending on where you live in and whether your state’s PCIP is operated by your state or by the Department of Health and Human Services. Check out this interactive guide to learn more about howPCIP plans work in your state, how to apply, what they cost and what they cover.