The world of health insurance is difficult to navigate at the best of times, even more so when you are self-employed and have limited options.
Here’s everything you need to know about self-employed health insurance and how to protect you and your loved ones without an employer health plan.
You need to estimate your earnings
If your income can fluctuate, you will need to provide insurance confidence with the most accurate estimation of your earnings. If you receive invoice payments, you could create a rough estimate of your earnings based on how much you made in prior months.
Some health insurance plans don’t even cover self-employed people or are challenging to obtain as self-employed persons. The good news is that there are several self-employed health insurance plans designed to cater to people like you.
You have access to the federal marketplace
One of the Affordable Care Act tenets was the creation of an online federal health insurance marketplace. You can scour the market for health insurance plans suited to your financial situation and current lifestyle. Check out healthcare.gov to find plenty of resources and connect to hundreds of healthcare providers. The federal database is the largest and most accessible online resource for healthcare plans.
The federal marketplace is owned and operated by the Federal government, meaning your
information is safe, and healthcare providers get held accountable if something happens. It’s easy to search the marketplace and find out more about being insured when self-employed.
You could qualify for a tax deduction
Self-employed people typically qualify for a tax deduction if they have self-employed health insurance. You can claim back up to 100% of the cost of your healthcare plan. You could save a lot of money this way, so you should definitely remember to claim it if you have the chance.
Unfortunately, you can’t claim the deductible if you qualify for a health plan through your spouse’s employer. The deductible is for people who are ineligible for any other health plans and have paid for their coverage by themselves through the year.
Check major health insurance providers
You can check with large providers such as United Healthcare if you don’t want to use the federal marketplace. Some prominent providers offer self-employed health insurance. Consult a licensed insurance agent or use an online broker to find the right coverage for you.
Brokers help you by searching hundreds of providers to find one that would ensure you. Agents can also help to customize the plan to make it more suitable for a self-employed person. Connecting to an agent takes the stress out of searching and gives you access to the information you wouldn’t have had on your own.
You can consider short-term health insurance plans
You can consider getting short-term insurance if you don’t need insurance for long. However, you will likely get declined for short-term coverage if you have a pre-existing condition. The advantages of short-term insurance are that they typically don’t have enrolment periods, and they usually let you choose the doctors and hospitals you want.
COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act, which allows people leaving employment to extend their insurance for a short time. Keep in mind that your plan will cost a lot more than you would have paid while employed.
If you use COBRA, you are responsible for the entire portion of healthcare coverage. If your previous employer covered some of your premiums, you’d be responsible for covering their part. COBRA should be considered a last resort, given how much you’ll have to pay in premiums.
HSA (Health Savings Accounts)
Health Savings Accounts are private savings accounts designed for medical expenses. You can put as much money as you need in your HAS, and the money is untaxable so long as it goes towards healthcare expenses.
HSA accounts are available to people with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), which selfemployed people typically have. You can use the extra money to pay for medical expenses and gaps in your coverage.
Make sure you can afford the premiums
As you shop around for self-employed health insurance, you should keep your budget in mind. Focus on finding a plan as affordable as you can get so that you can keep paying the premiums even if your income drops or becomes unpredictable.
If you include family members in your plan, you will have to pay higher premiums and co-pays. Check to see if your spouse can get a better plan from their employer before including them in your self-employed plan.
Searching for health insurance while self-employed is a stressful and challenging experience.
Working with an agent or broker can help you access plans that you might not have known about before. They can also search for plans for you, so you don’t have to, freeing up plenty of time to focus on more important things.
Ensure you have a rough estimate of how much you make and account for unpredictable income levels by choosing an affordable plan. You can choose a short-term plan or check the marketplace if you find yourself in a pinch and need insurance.