While more and more people are transitioning to the world of self-employment, there are those who are still thinking twice before taking the leap. This hesitation mainly comes from getting health insurance, especially if you’re used to having a company take care of that for you.
According to The Washington Post, the number of self-employed Americans who don’t have any sort of health coverage reached 15 million. Many have attributed the complicated registration process, seemingly limited on-hand options and the higher monthly premiums as factors to why they’re uninsured. Coverage is often not provided by freelancer clients as well, leading independent workers to pay exorbitant medical bills out-of-pocket.
Getting sick is already very unfortunate for someone who’s self-employed, so add in the rising costs of healthcare, and you’re facing a pretty stressful situation.
But the good news is, you can still get health insurance that has comprehensive coverage and won’t break your bank. You don’t need to sacrifice your peace of mind and your hard-earned money during medical emergencies.
Here are some alternative ways you can purchase healthcare insurance plans as a self-employed worker.
Short Term Health Insurance
Avail of this type of coverage if you’re a freelancer who’s just starting out or if you’ve recently transitioned from the corporate world. This is also the best short-term option if you missed the open enrollment period, or if you’re suddenly faced with an emergency medical issue.
Plans won’t provide extensive benefits as a regular healthcare plan would, like coverage for chronic illnesses, and are only valid for a certain amount of time. But getting something for the short-term is better than going months without health insurance.
Another alternative is taking advantage of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1985, especially if you’ve recently resigned from a full-time corporate job to become a self-employed worker. This law allows you to continue with your existing coverage for up to 36 months, wherein you can use the time to save up for an individual plan afterward.
The only downside is premiums tend to be more expensive than if you were still employed with your previous company.
The Freelancer’s Union
Associations that are focused on the welfare of the growing number of freelancers in the U.S. are offering options for health insurance as well, such as The Freelancer’s Union. Not only is it free to join this particular organization, but you get to join other freelancers in your state and purchase group insurance. Costs become lower than getting individualized plans on your own, and some plans include dental coverage, life and travel insurance.
You won’t only have access to health insurance, but you can meet fellow freelancers and get the support that you need in this industry.
As an alternative to government-based plans, religious denominations and faith-based organizations are coming up with affordable healthcare insurance for self-employed individuals. This low-cost alternative involves members paying a monthly fee that is dependent on your current financial situation. They are then collected in a shared ‘box’.
When a medical emergency comes up, you can then access this fund and use any amount you need to cover the costs.
Healthcare.gov is the go-to place for many self-employed individuals, solo entrepreneurs, and even small business owners when it comes to health insurance. So, if you’re eligible for government subsidies and want to use them to get lower monthly premiums on your plan, then you can head to this site. There’s a wide selection to pick from, just make sure that your choices meet the Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage requirements
You can even enlist the assistance of companies like SimplyInsured and StrideHealth that help you use tax credits to enroll in a health insurance plan.
Spouse or Partner Policy
Having a husband or wife who is still working in a corporate setting is an advantage if you’re shifting to a freelance career. Those recognized by the law as domestic partners can avail of this alternative as well.
You can ride on their health insurance plan for free or pay a lower monthly premium while you adjust to your new work set-up. You can enjoy the same coverage at a fraction of the cost, saving you money that you can allocate to other important expenses.
Choosing the right healthcare as a self-employed individual is highly dependent on your situation, as well as your immediate and long-term medical needs in the future. You can rest easy knowing that there are options out there if you decide to leave the corporate world and pursue your passion full-time. No need to pay outrageous fees when emergencies arise, as long as you get self-employed health insurance for yourself.