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Here are the Best Healthcare Options if You're Self-Employed
By: Edward Neeman | Published: December 11, 2017
Being self-employed comes with a huge number of benefits. However, one of the biggest downsides is the lack of access to affordable healthcare. Most people receive healthcare through their employer but when you are self-employed, that is not a possibility. To help you find the best health plans, check out these six options.
The ACA, also known as Obamacare, was passed in 2010 and has made it much easier for individuals to find affordable insurance. You can locate healthcare plans from a range of insurance companies by browsing the Health Insurance Marketplace. Individual insurance plans are available to freelancers, independent contractors, consultants, and other self-employed people who do not have any employees. These high-quality health plans offer flexibility, which is often necessary for the freelance world.
According to federal standards, you are considered self-employed if you own a business that makes money and does not have any other employees. Other owners, family members, and spouses that work with you do not count as employees. If your business does have other employees, you can find insurance at the SHOP Marketplace for small businesses. Here, you can browse plans that will cover you and your employees.
If your spouse or domestic partner has a health insurance plan through their work or one of the many private insurance providers, you should consider joining their plan. Especially for freelancers, this is a great way to get covered and save some money. Just make sure that their insurance meets your specific needs. Additionally, you should compare the costs of joining your spouse’s insurance to finding your own insurance. This way, you can be sure that you are getting the best deal.
The Freelancer’s Union
As a self-employed worker, you have likely heard of the Freelancer’s Union. This organization offers health insurance plans and other options. They also provide supplemental medical insurance like dental and other insurance plans like life insurance, too. Though they operate out of New York, you can still browse their resources to find an effective health insurance plan. They also offer a number of other benefits and helpful resources for members. Plus, the Freelancer’s Union is totally free to join.
To locate a whole bunch of healthcare plans available to you, check out a healthcare marketplace. These websites collect information from insurance companies and allow you to compare and contrast insurance quotes and coverage. One of the best sites to check out is First Quote Health. All you need to do is enter your zip code and you will be presented with a number of affordable health insurance quotes. First Quote Health makes shopping around for online quotes and insurance easier.
Convert Your Plan
Those who recently left a job to become self-employed may be in luck. If this is the case for you, or soon will be, you may be able to convert your existing group plan into an individual insurance plan. Though this may cause your premiums to increase, there are a number of benefits to simply converting your plan. You can keep your same health insurance coverage and you do not need to worry about whether or not your doctors are in your network. Additionally, doing this will prevent a lapse in insurance coverage. If you do not have a qualified insurance plan, you will need to pay a fee on your tax return. For this reason, converting your plan to an individual insurance plan is a great idea.
If you were fired from your job and decided to make the change to freelancing instead, you may be able to take advantage of COBRA health coverage. This allows you to stay on your employer’s group insurance plan for up to 18 months. This will give you plenty of time to find a new health insurance plan.
National Association for the Self-Employed
The National Association for the Self-Employed, or NASE, provides daily support for those who work for themselves. They offer their members access to legal and tax professionals, discounted rates on financial software, and access to online quotes for individual insurance plans from a range insurance providers. Premiums for these plans vary depending on your state of residency and your personal needs. Additionally, some member benefits can also offer access to a Health Savings Account and life insurance plans. Membership costs $25 for students annually and up to $120 for regular members annually.