As many employees enter their employer's open enrollment period, the chapter on health insurance will be particularly helpful. For example, Lankford does a good job of explaining the new health savings accounts, or HSAs. This type of plan was created by the Medicare bill signed by President Bush in 2003. The plans are supposed to help people save for future qualified medical and retiree health expenses on a tax- free basis.

If you're having trouble finding health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, don't get discouraged, Lankford says, just keep shopping. One excellent source is the website for Communicating for Agriculture and the Self-Employed at www.selfemployedcountry.org.

Scroll to the middle of the home page and click on the link for "Risk Pools," which directs high-risk consumers to states that offer insurance to those who have been denied coverage.

And just because you're high-risk, don't be so desperate that you fall for a scam, Lankford warns. Specifically, she cautions against getting health insurance though an association group policy. As Lankford reports in the book, between 2000 and 2002, state investigators shut down 41 illegal operations selling insurance through phony and real associations.

Most helpful is how Lankford concludes the book. She walks readers though the insurance that they need depending on where they are in life, such as when you get married, send your children off to college or retire.

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