Commercial fishing is generally hazardous, but some types of commercial fishing are more dangerous than others. Since much of the fishing industry is composed of small family-owned businesses, commercial fishermen often have to rely on the private health insurance markets. Do commercial fishermen working in more dangerous areas or with more dangerous gear mitigate their risk by purchasing health insurance? I examine the relationship between the economics of the North Carolina commercial fishing fleet and private market health insurance purchases in the two years immediately preceding the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. Establishing this baseline is important, as the slow implementation of the Act's expanded coverage will take time to make meaningful impacts on commercial fishing fleets. I close by considering which aspects of commercial fishing might be most affected by the ACA.
JEL Codes: D78, H51, I100, I13, N52, Q22, Q28, Q58.