Working as a self-employed individual is definitely exciting. You stay in control and do the work you are most passionate about. Still, what about health insurance?
Most people who work usually rely on employer-sponsored health insurance, or group insurance. However, if you are your own employer then what are your options?
No need to worry because there are numerous options to buy health insurance for self-employed individuals. Let’s check out some options for health insurance for self-employed people.
What is Self-Employed Health Insurance?
Self-employed individuals are those who earn income from a business, but they are the only employee.
There are separate types of health insurance for small business owners who employ even a handful of workers.
Self-employed health insurance is an individual or private healthcare coverage plan.
You can buy individual private health insurance for yourself and your family in the federal government’s insurance marketplace.
Everyone needs health insurance. Simply because you are operating your business alone does not mean you should do so without proper health insurance coverage.
Apart from this, there are other kinds of insurance policies you may need to buy too.
Lack of health insurance poses serious problems in case of a medical emergency for you or your family.
Getting emergency medical treatment without insurance can cause you to get into serious financial debt.
Hence, it is highly recommended to buy individual health insurance if you are self-employed.
Where to buy Health Insurance for Self-Employed?
The best place to search and find health insurance policies for self-employed individuals is the government’s health insurance marketplace.
This is where you can find the eligibility criteria for Medicaid, lower health insurance premiums, and receive tax credits.
If you have kids, you can also use the marketplace to enroll them into the CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) if you qualify.
Let’s check out the different options of health insurance for self-employed individuals in the US:
Private Health Insurance
Several private insurance carriers have plans that are customized for the self-employed, like you.
These are an excellent option for you if you are looking for insurance plans that offer extensive benefits at an affordable price.
You should choose the health insurance plan which offers maximum benefits at the lowest cost.
These benefits should include facilities such as access to in-network providers, preventive care, etc. These benefits should be offered to you and your family without any extra charges.
To start searching for private health insurance plans, you can call an independent insurance agent.
Health Care Sharing Ministries
Health care sharing ministries are not technically “health insurance”. It is more like a group of people who belong to an organization, such as a church or ministry.
These members contribute together to a fund. This fund is used to pay for major healthcare and hospital costs for the members belonging to the group.
This is a good option but only if you are single, with no kids or other dependents. However, there are some downsides to this.
The ministries usually have strict regulations to determine what they can pay for.
As ministries are not regulated by the Affordable Care Act, they are not required to cover any pre-existing medical conditions you may have.
Short-term Health Insurance
Here’s what to do if you are going to be self-employed for a short period of time. For instance, you might have been let go from your full-time job and lost the group insurance plan benefits.
In such a case, you might turn to freelance for the time being, at least till you find a full-time job once more.
In such situations, here’s what you can do:
You can keep receiving benefits from your last employer’s group insurance plan through the COBRA health insurance. CORBA is short for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.
COBRA allows you to keep the same employer-sponsored health insurance policy you had at your old job for around 18 to 36 months.
This might sound great but you need to remember this. You will end up paying more towards the premium each month because your employer will not be contributing towards the premium, as is usual.
Short-Term Health Insurance
Short-term health insurance offers cover for up to 3 months. There are several benefits of short-term insurance.
Firstly, you can sign up for the insurance outside of the usual enrolment period. Secondly, your monthly premium charges would be considerably lower than that in COBRA.
The only thing is that you may incur higher out-of-pocket expenses while pre-existing conditions may not be covered.
Industry-Specific Health Insurance
Industry-specific health insurance can be easily bought through any freelancers union. You can avail of great discounted rates for insurance policy this way.
These industry-specific insurance plans are offered to certain groups, such as college alumni or caregivers groups.
However, make sure to read the offered documents carefully before buying industry-specific health insurance plans.
Make sure that the premium you pay justifies the extent of cover the insurance policy provides.
How much does Health Insurance for Self-Employed Cost?
There are numerous factors that determine the exact amount you need to pay as an insurance premium under any plan. Hence, you will first need to consider some points, such as:
- Do you need cover for spouse, partner, kids, or dependents?
- What is the level of insurance coverage you need?
- Are you a smoker?
- What is your age?
- Where do you live?
Still, if you are buying health insurance from the online insurance marketplace, then you may have to pay around US$ 438 per month.
For insurance with family cover, the premium can cost around US$ 1,779 per month.
However, if you qualify for tax relief, you might have to pay a lot less than quoted above.
It is highly recommended to first check the online health insurance marketplace for your state.
Here, you can find agencies that could help you to reduce self-employed insurance premiums even more significantly.
You can seek assistance from different groups, such as Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), or the Association for the Self-Employed.