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Who: Denise Minard, 59, single.

Circumstance: Diagnosed with diabetes, she has been able to stay insulin-free by careful attention to her diet.

Challenge: In April, she lost her job at a struggling printing company and hasn’t found work since. After she pays the rent on her Capitol Hill apartment, and bills for her phone and Internet service, she has $592 a month left from her unemployment check to cover everything else.

Current coverage: After she left work, she signed up for an individual policy from Group Health Cooperative for $386 a month, plus a hefty deductible. But after three months, she canceled her policy. “For me to afford health insurance, I was going to have to eat badly,” she said, and risk having to go to medication to control her illness.

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Fortunately, she hasn’t had major problems since she canceled her insurance, and has been getting low-cost primary care at Country Doctor Community Clinic. But she worries: “I feel pretty vulnerable.”

Options: Denise didn’t realize that she would qualify for a subsidy under the Affordable Care Act. She knew only that she couldn’t afford the plan she’d had. According to preliminary calculations, Denise likely will be able to get a subsidy on the exchange, where she could buy a midlevel “silver” plan that will offer better coverage than what she had and cost her about $115 a month.

— Carol M. Ostrom

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