Health insurance for the daredevil years


My father died when I was 21 and I was hired as a full-time university instructor when I was 28. In the intervening seven years, my health care consisted of one or two visits to a cheap sawbones and a well-thumbed copy of Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Overall, I was fairly lucky: apart from two wisdom-tooth extractions, a case of acid reflux, and a broken hand, I didn't have any problems that vitamins, cigarettes, and a decent exercise regimen couldn't take care of.

While I look back on my twenties as something of a narrowly-averted accident, I also realize that I was in a very large minority. According to Time magazine, 30% of 19-29 year-old Americans don't have health insurance. Luckily, many major insurers, including Humana and WellPoint, have begun offering ultra-cheap insurance plans (Wellpoint's "Thrill-Seeker," "Part-time Daredevil," and "Calculated Risk Taker" plans seem particularly appropriate for this demographic). Beginning at as little as $30 per month, these plans don't really offer much in the way of preventative care, and their deductibles are extremely large; in the case of Humana's cheapest plan, a $30 premium is paired with a $7,500 deductible.

On the other hand, speaking as someone who definitely dodged the bullet, if I had known about $30 per month insurance, I definitely would have taken it. As it is, I just thank my lucky stars that I didn't need any surgery!

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. While an admitted picker, grinner, lover, and sinner, he's wondering if he can classify himself as a thrill-seeker, part-time daredevil, and calculated risk taker.