Annemarie Marek needed health insurance. But the cost of coverage was enough to make her sick.

aheAs a nonsmoker in good health–and with no history of claims–Marek pays about $230 per month for medical coverage, on top of an annual $2,500 deductible. The package includes a 5 percent discount on prescriptions, but Marek has seen the deductible cost jump 20 percent annually since she first purchased the plan in 1992. Although her Dallas-based marketing communications firm, Marek & Co., foots the cost of her health coverage, Marek quips, “Remember, I’m a sole proprietor.”

So costly is health insurance for independent professionals and home-based business owners, like Marek, that many have opted to go without coverage. According to the healthcare website 98000reasons.org, approximately 56 percent of its 600,000 members are uninsured. And 11 percent work from home, notes the website’s national director of health care, …