As relieved as I was to cross the finish line of my first marathon or to write the final check to pay off my school loans, nothing brought me greater satisfaction than securing private health insurance after my COBRA ran out at the end December. Having a pre-existing condition like Lupus made my choices for private insurance very slim, and I'd heard one horror story after another how people with chronic illnesses had been denied coverage or were slapped with outrageous (and prohibitive) premiums. While my husband and I had mentally prepared ourselves to pay up to $1000/month (I know, still outrageous), I began to worry that no amount of money would be able to secure good coverage without exceptions. However, with the help of our insurance agent, Dick Lucier from Diversified Benefits we uncovered a great plan that had everything I needed - no pre-existing condition exclusions, medical, vision, and maternity coverage (for the future), as well as a pharmacy benefit - all with a premium of under $500! The coverage was as good if not better than what I'd had when I'd been employed full-time, so we were thrilled. (Go, Dick!) Nor was there a health questionnaire to complete, waiting period, or lapse in coverage - I guess miracles can come true!