US citizens spend a combined total of 3.5 trillion dollars on medical expenses every year. That number continues to go up as the population balloons and medical technology gets more expensive.
Even if you don’t find yourself spending a lot on medical care presently, there’s a good chance that at some point, you’ll get stuck with a large bill for a fleeting illness or injury. To make sure that bill doesn’t bankrupt you, it’s important to have health insurance… Even as a self-employed individual.
Self-employed health insurance can be a chore to come by when compared to just being able to hop on a company plan. Fortunately, there are still a couple of relatively painless options that you can pursue.
Below, we share tips on how to get insured if you work for yourself.
#1. Hop on Your Partner’s Plan
If you’re married to somebody that is insured through his or her workplace, you’re in great shape. As a self-employed individual, you can simply hop on their plan and continue enjoying cutting-edge healthcare.
There’s a good chance that your partner’s monthly premium will go up slightly when they add you to their plan. Still, that upcharge will be nominal when compared to how much you’d need to pay out of pocket for a plan if you had to pay for your own insurance on the open market.
Even if you’re not married to your partner, depending on your state’s domestic partnership laws, you may still qualify to get on their insurance plan.
#2. See if COBRA Offers Good Options
If you’re leaving a job that provides health insurance to start a life as a self-employed individual, you’ll likely receive a notice from COBRA. COBRA is the by-product of a law that was passed to help people not lose coverage between jobs.
The upside to COBRA is that opting into it is very simple and it will usually let you keep your doctor/the overall healthcare experience that you’re used to. The bad news with COBRA is that plans are generally expensive when compared to how much you were paying for coverage while working.
Read your COBRA offer carefully when it’s given to you at work or mailed to you shortly after leaving to see if it’s a good fit.
There’s a type of healthcare alternative called Medi-Share that a lot of people are beginning to opt into.
Medi-Shares are groups (typically made up of people of the Christian faith) that have a contract in place which compels them to chip in for one another’s medical bills as they come up.
The big catch here is that Medi-Share groups may be small which could potentially raise the amount you’ll have to pay out of pocket if someone in your group gets sick. Also, since Medi-Share programs are usually run by faith groups, certain illnesses/injuries associated with “bad-behavior” (drug use for instance) may not be covered.
#4. Check Out the ACA Marketplace
The Affordable Care Act gave birth to healthcare.gov which is a massive insurance marketplace that aims to make getting general healthcare and self-employed health insurance simple. If you’ve never been to the ACA marketplace, we recommend taking some time to log onto the website and get familiar with it.
You may notice that the ACA says you can only enroll during its annual enrollment period. If you’ve undergone a life change though (left your job to become self-employed for example) you can apply for healthcare outside of the standard enrollment window.
#5. Ask About a Primary Care Membership
Some doctor’s offices will offer self-employed health insurance directly through their office. The way that it works is that you pay them a flat fee each month and for that, they’ll give you basic care throughout the year.
The snag here is that if you’re involved in an emergency and need to be treated at another facility, the doctor’s office that you have a primary care membership with won’t pay your bills.
For that reason, you’ll likely need to opt into a “catastrophic health insurance plan” in addition to having a primary care membership so your bases are covered.
#6. Look into Medicare
If working for yourself is slow going, you may be able to opt into Medicare as your means of self-employed insurance. Medicare is government subsided, offers excellent healthcare options, and may be 100% free depending on your income bracket.
If you qualify for Medicare, there’s no reason to not take advantage of it.
#7. Don’t Lose Your Cool
This tip applies to all of the options that we’ve discussed so far. Getting health insurance as a self-employed individual can be difficult and that difficulty can lead to frustration that might make you want to stop working for yourself.
Don’t give in to that pressure.
The first couple of years of self-employment will be tough and there will be a lot to figure out but after you do that and start working with your own clients, you’ll find that all of the work will be worth it.
If you ever start to feel like you’re hitting a dead-end with your insurance search, find out more information by asking other self-employed people questions online.
Wrapping Up Tips for Securing Self-Employed Health Insurance
Getting your hands-on self-employed health insurance can be a tricky process but it’s also a necessary one. Don’t let the perceived stress of finding a plan keep you from getting the coverage you need to be safe.
Take our advice above, opt into a program that works for you, and start living your healthiest life today!
For more tips on how to get the most out of your life as a self-employed individual, check out additional content on eMoneyIndeed today!