What health insurance options are available if you’re self-employed?
Freelancers currently account for 36 percent of the U.S. workforce.
Of those who work on a freelance basis, a significant portion of them are uninsured. According to the latest reports, as much as 35 percent do not have health insurance.
Are you part of this group? Do you want health insurance but think you can’t afford it? The good news is that there are lots of insurance options out there that are more affordable than you may have initially thought.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about health insurance as a self-employed entrepreneur or freelancer.
Types of Health Insurance
There are several different types of health insurance available all year-round to freelancers and self-employed workers. Here are some of the most popular options, many of which are available all-year-round, not just during the open enrollment period:
If you’re a freelancer or are self-employed, you can still shop for healthcare through the online marketplace. Simply go to Healthcare.gov to learn about the different types of plans available to you. There are lots of plans available at a variety of price points.
Through the online marketplace, you can also learn more about other options that you might qualify for, such as tax credits and government assistance programs. These programs will allow you to enjoy the benefits of health insurance at a lower rate.
Sometimes, local organizations like your city’s Chamber of Commerce will have a group plan that provides healthcare coverage to members. If you join such a group (and fulfill whatever requirements are in place to maintain your membership), you may be able to get health insurance through them.
Many of these groups offer fairly generous healthcare policies, so it’s worth looking into if you have the time to dedicate to the organization.
Healthcare Sharing Ministries
Some faith-based organizations, known as Healthcare Sharing Ministries, offer an affordable alternative to traditional health insurance plans.
With these programs, everyone chips in and pays a monthly premium (this premium is usually based on your income). Then, when you need healthcare, you pay your bills with the money from the pool.
This can be a good option, but it’s important to make sure you understand the rules of the group (such as which types of bills they’ll cover) before you join.
Health Savings Account
A Health Savings Account can be a good complement to other health insurance policies. A Health Savings Account (or HSA) is a tax-deferred savings account that you can use to cover various healthcare-related costs. HSAs are especially helpful to those who have high-deductible insurance plans.
The Freelancer’s Union is an organization that offers healthcare coverage to freelancers throughout the country.
In addition to health insurance, the Freelancer’s Union also offers dental coverage, life insurance, and disability insurance.
Not all of the plans offered by the Freelancer’s Union are as comprehensive as you might like, depending on your location, but it’s still worth looking into.
Depending on your income, you may qualify for Medicaid as a freelancer.
Do some research to learn about your state’s specific Medicaid qualification guidelines to see if you meet them. If you do, you can get government assistance to help pay for your healthcare.
Finally, don’t discount private insurance.
There are lots of independent insurance agencies that are willing to work with freelancers and help them get the coverage they need. They offer a wide range of plans, so it’s easier than you might think to find something that fits your budget while still providing you with adequate coverage.
This is especially true if you sign up for a high-deductible plan, which comes with lower monthly or yearly premiums.
How to Choose the Right Policy
As you can see, there are lots of ways you can go about choosing a health insurance plan. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the options available to you, here are some tips to help you make the best decision for your needs:
Consider Your Budget
First, think about what you can afford to spend on health insurance.
Take a look at your budget and figure out how much you can afford to allocate on a monthly or yearly basis to pay for your healthcare. This will help you narrow down your search and figure out which types of plans work best for you.
For example, you may find that a high-deductible plan will fit your budget, or you may find that you meet your state’s qualifications for Medicaid coverage.
Compare and Contrast
Next, spend some time comparing and contrasting different plans.
If you’re shopping through the online marketplace, it’s easy for you to look at various policies and compare their premiums and the type of coverage they offer.
When you’re shopping for private insurance online, there are also lots of tools that help you compare and contrast plans to ensure you’re getting the best rates possible.
Work with an Independent Agent
When you’re shopping for private insurance, which may be your best bet if you don’t qualify for government assistance and can’t find anything through the online marketplace that fits your needs, it’s always a good idea to work with an independent agent.
An agent can help you find the policies that are most likely to fit your budget and healthcare requirements. They can also make you aware of potential opportunities for discounts on your coverage if you meet certain prerequisites.
Often, when you start shopping for private insurance, you’ll have a chance to talk to an agent. Take them up on this offer, as they could be your golden ticket to an affordable, comprehensive policy.
Get Insured Today
As you can see, there are lots of different health insurance options available for freelancers and those who are self-employed.
If you’ve been putting off purchasing a health insurance policy because you think it’s too expensive, or because you don’t think you can get insurance without a 9-5 job, think again.
Keep this information in mind as you begin your search, and don’t hesitate to reach out to an independent insurance agent as well. They can help you sort through your options and make the decision that works best for you and your specific healthcare needs.
For a free quote or for more information please call our office at 314-282-7013.