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Accidents Will Happen

Health insurance--why you need it, where to get it

Are you a gambler? You'd better be if you don't have health insurance--and odds are, you don't. About one in every seven Americans goes without medical coverage, but the percentage of insureds takes a real fall in any survey of 19- to 39-year-olds who figure "Hey, I'm healthy, so why shell out cash that could go into more fun pursuits or building a business?"

Listen up: Just a minor tumble can put you face to face with ugly medical bills. Break a bone in your foot in a freak jogging mishap, and get ready to write out a four-figure check to cover doctor's visits, X-rays and treatment. Bad things happen to healthy people; that's why you need insurance.

Besides, it's cheap. That's right: An Internet search for rates for a 30-year-old male in Los Angeles County--one of the more expensive locales in the nation--found plenty of good policies for less than $100 per month. A 30-year-old female in L.A. will pay even less, probably around $75 monthly. And here's the kicker: Since you're self-employed, 45 percent of the cost of medical insurance is deductible from federal taxes, and that percentage is increasing each year until it hits 100 percent in 2007.

With Uncle Sam picking up part of the tab, it's just plain smart to spring for medical insurance. Need more convincing? Keep reading for a list of bookmarks that make for a primer on health insurance--why you need it, what to buy and where to get it.

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This article was originally published in the October 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Accidents Will Happen.

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