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.
- 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.
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 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.