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What if I can't get individual coverage?

You do have options, though they're not ideal. By law, states must make last-resort insurance available if you're what's known as "HIPAA eligible." (HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.) But these plans can be limited and costly.

Another tack: Some states mandate guaranteed group plans for businesses with even one employee. So if you'll do any consulting work, incorporating yourself may make sense. For a national overview of your options, go to statehealthfacts.org.

Finally, if you're up for adventure and can bear cold winters, you could move to one of the five states - New Jersey, New York, Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont - that forbid insurers from rejecting applicants for medical reasons.

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