If you've decided to take the freelancer route, it can be exciting and somewhat scary at the same time. Your career is essentially in your hands which can be a blessing as well as something that can leave a world of unknowns before you.

One thing you needn't worry about is health insurance, despite the pre-conceived ideas about a freelancer's ability to find coverage you had in your mind as you embarked on your career journey. Your health is as important as anything else in your life, so don't let lack of coverage prevent you from getting the care and treatment you may need now and in the future. Freelancers can indeed get health insurance, and here are some ways to do it.

Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare)

According to ObamaCare Facts, most of the healthcare provisions in the ACA are available to freelancers. Freelancers can take advantage of tax deductions related to health care as well as reduce the cost of health coverage. The benefit to the self-employed is that health insurance premiums are fully deductible on tax returns for the freelancer and their dependents.

Of course there are restrictions, so visit the U.S Department of Health & Human Services for specifics, but in a nutshell, Make a Living Writing gives some key takeaways:

  • You must be a legal U.S. resident and have a low income
  • Legal immigrants can obtain coverage
  • All basics covered, even dental
  • Not low-income? Check out the Healthcare Marketplace which offers a bunch of plans

Whatever your feelings about Obama may be, this plan has been helpful for many a freelancer seeking health coverage thanks to this program.

COBRA

As per HealthCare.gov, COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) is, "A federal law that may allow you to temporarily keep health coverage after your employment ends, you lose coverage as a dependent of the covered employee, or another qualifying event. If you elect COBRA coverage, you pay 100% of the premiums, including the share the employer used to pay, plus a small administrative fee."

So if you freelance now but used to be employed by another, COBRA can be a smart coverage choice. That said, there are specifications to this type of coverage. One instance is that coverage won't last forever. As per Make a Living Writing, coverage is only extended up to 18 months. This bides you some time to find a new plan once you establish your next career move. In addition, premiums can be pricy, but since you may have no other option at the time, COBRA will save you from paying full out-of-pocket costs which can be astronomical.

Your Spouse's Plan

If you are married or in some cases have a legal partnership that allows for one person to be on the other's health plan, hopping aboard their plan can be a great option. Naturally, every plan has its own rules and regulations, so read the fine print to make sure the added costs are not too high and this is the best coverage plan for your needs. As per Make a Living Writing, the author noted, "Cost-compare. At one point, we discovered my husband's employer's policy was actually worse for coverage and more expensive than self-insuring, so we switched."

VeryWell suggests, "If you and your spouse or partner are both eligible for employee health benefits, check out each company's health insurance options during open enrollment to see which may cost you less. Employers differ considerably in the amount of premium contributions and you may be able to save money by switching to your spouse's family coverage."

To make sure you are making the right decision, WebMD advises, "If you have questions, call the health plan or your company's human resources manager and ask for help. Also check to see what tools or resources are available. Some employers offer worksheets or online tools to help you estimate costs and compare plans."

Freelancers Union

Freelancers Insurance Agency (FIA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Freelancers Union and is a licensed health insurance provider in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, and Virginia, and works in contract with HealthPlanServices, Inc., a nationally licensed insurance provider.

Dental coverage is provided via Guardian and freelancers can get an average savings on dental costs of 35%. For more details, visit, Freelancers Union.

There's no need to go without some type of health coverage as a freelancer. Don't let the upfront costs turn you off, as they will save you hundreds, if not thousands over time if you need to see a doctor, require hospital stay, surgery, or something else health-related. Not to mention, if you can afford insurance and opt not to buy it, you will be responsible to pay a fee. You're much better off putting that money towards your health.

Find out the plan that best suits you and get covered today!

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Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

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Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.