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This was a major issue with us, as well. Due to a rotator cuff tear in 2002, I found that I was "uninsurable" in 2003...just as I was coming off COBRA.

When we began to investigate locales for retirement, I discovered that each state has different health insurance regulations. For example, in DE, each insurance company determines insurability and price independently.

In WA, the state mandates a standard health screening, where a rotator cuff injury counts fairly low on the scale of pre-existing conditions (it is actually completely healed now). This means that I was insurable in WA. Even for serious conditions, WA has a state health-insurance pool. Furthermore, WA mandates that insurance companies accept any person whose COBRA coverage has maxed out (18 months).

In DE, our health insurance would have been almost $1000 per month. In WA, it is about $500 per month (for both of us). Still a major expense, but the saving of $500 per month is significant.

I encourage you to investigate the health insurance rules of any state where you are considering retirement.

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