You Wear a Helmet, But Are You Covered?

One of the most ambitious proposals comes from Representative Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), a candidate for president. He says Congress should repeal tax cuts passed since 2001 and use the windfall -- at least $210 billion a year -- to guarantee coverage for every uninsured American. Employers would have to offer insurance, but the feds would pay for 60 percent of the cost.

Uninsured? Read this now

Don't take risks with your health. Consider some of these stopgap ways to get covered:

Comparison shop for the cheapest health plans at Insure.com. If you're in good health, think about catastrophic coverage. With lower premiums and high deductibles, these plans won't cover basic care but help pay for big-ticket problems.

Another option: Find a group plan through your college alumni association or trade organization.

Thirty-one states have high-risk health insurance pools for people who've been denied coverage; to learn more, visit NASCHIP.org.

Finally, consider joining the health-care savings program Pinnacle Choice. Though it doesn't replace insurance, a yearly fee of $360 gets you big discounts on doctor visits, hospital stays and medicine. For more information, go to Pinnaclechoice.com.

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