Are You Covered?

Health Insurance

Unless you're lucky enough to have a spouse whose employer provides medical benefits for your entire family, health insurance is the most obvious form of insurance an entrepreneur needs.

Non-group health-insurance plans are more expensive than the group plans available to businesses. This holds true whether you pay for traditional indemnity coverage or choose to enroll in a health-maintenance organization (HMO). For example, an indemnity plan with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts that covers a family of three or more, does not include dental care and carries a $200 deductible, costs nearly $6,700 in annual premiums.

National associations such as HBI, NASE, the Independent Business Alliance (IBA) and the American Entrepreneurs Association (AEA), however, as well as state and local business associations--with tens of thousands of members each--can offer coverage at more affordable group-plan rates. And as a consolation for paying for your own health insurance--unquestionably, a major business expense--the IRS now allows self-employed businesspeople to deduct 40 percent of health-insurance premium costs. For more information on the specific IRS guidelines, request IRS Publication 533, Self-Employment Tax, and IRS Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses, by calling (800) 829-3676.

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This article was originally published in the September 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Are You Covered?.

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