The great American risk: Gambling with your kids' health

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This weekend, my 14-month-old, Monroe, had a terrible accident. I'd just finished taking out the recycling, and he and his brothers were playing. I heard glass bumping against glass. Strange, I thought, I got it all, didn't I? A moment later, a sound of broken glass, then my oldest son yelling, then screams. Really, really serious screams. Then there was blood. Lots, and lots of blood.

One 911 call and an ambulance ride later, I was thanking all applicable heavenly bodies that, firstly, the enormous gaping cut to his eyelid was not life- or vision-threatening and second, that I had two weeks left of health care insurance. I'm leaving full-time employment to do the freelance thing, and along with it will go my full complement of benefits. I had considered going without for a few months, but this weekend's excitement and the realization that I have three of these danger-prone little boys has me decided to buy emergency health insurance, that will pay out for extreme costs. I'll pay out-of-pocket for regular well-baby visits and my own extremely rare visits to the doctor.

And then I'll be taking the Great American Risk along with dozens of my friends and millions of other Americans: gambling that my kids' health needs aren't more than a $100 here and there. I can't really afford the enormous cost of individual health insurance for my family; depending on the plan the cost starts at $400 a month and skyrocket from there. $5,000 a year plus I have to pay $1,500 to $5,000 deductible? No way man. I'm rolling the dice, hoping my family doesn't end up with any life-threatening diseases, hoping I don't get pregnant again. Forget penny stocks or mortgage-backed securities; the stakes are way higher here in the living rooms and basements of the Regular American. I'd love to hear from other freelancers and part-time parents out there: what have you done?
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