Finding the right health insurance is the greatest barrier that prevents individuals from foraying into self-employment. However, if you are among the one who prefers working remotely with flexible working hours and love to have complete control on your work, but is wondering if the affordable health insurance plans options for freelancers, then you can go ahead because there are some good health insurance options available for self-employed and freelancers. Self-employed and freelancers might be thinking about their health insurance options and whether they need to purchase private health insurance or can buy a government health insurance policy, but the fact is that there is not anyone answer that will suit all. Self-employed and freelancers need to be aware of all their options to make an informed decision.
Health Insurance Options for Self-employed
Depending upon budget and health insurance coverage need, self-employed can choose a health plan because there is a spectrum of choices available for them, ranging from the health plans of government health insurance exchanges to health insurance marketplaces.
ACA Exchange or Health Insurance Marketplace Plans
At the ACA exchange or health insurance marketplace, self-employed can compare different health plans of their region. If individuals find difficulty in understanding different plans, then the ACA exchange website can direct individuals to a person called navigator, who will tell about the pros and cons of each plan. Self-employed and freelancers can buy plans through the marketplace because plans listed on the exchange meet specific government-mandated requirements. All the plans listed at the ACA exchange cover 100% of preventive care and self-employed cannot be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. There are five categories of plans available on the exchange like catastrophic, platinum, gold, silver, and bronze.
Self-employed individuals will prefer to buy from the government health insurance marketplace if they qualify for a subsidy because in this case, the government will cover a part of their premium. However, individuals who do not qualify for a subsidy, then the cost of the health plan is the same both on and off the exchange. Individuals can check their subsidy eligibility by visiting the site Healthcare.gov.
Partner’s Health Insurance Plans
Self-employed individuals who are married or living with a partner are eligible to join their partner’s health insurance plan. However, such individuals are more likely to qualify for an employer-based health plan compared to plans available on the health care marketplace. If they think that they may qualify for their partner’s workplace plan, then they should ask their partner to discuss with their HR department or consult with their insurer. Having coverage through a partner’s health insurance plan is a better alternative to government health insurance since a certain percentage of the premium is shared by the employer. Besides, individuals will have better coverage at a better price and will also have access to a better network.
Professional Groups, Unions, and Associations
Though it is not common like the other health insurance options, sometimes self-employed and freelancers can find affordable health plans through professional groups or an association like Freelancer’s Union. Self-employed individuals need to pay fees to the concerned association to become eligible for the plan. Individuals need to take into account certain factors like costs and benefits before enrolling in such plans.
Self-employed individuals and freelancers also have options for Medicaid plans, which is a government-sponsored health plan designed for low-income individuals. To qualify for the Medicaid plan, a self-employed individual’s income must be below a certain level. However, the income-level differs from one state to another and also on the number of people in the family. Self-employed individuals, if they have any dependents in their family younger than 18, then they can also check their eligibility for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is same as Medicaid but only available for children.
Some Outside-the-box Options
Freelancers or self-insured individuals have some additional affordable health insurance options available depending upon their particular circumstances. For instance, if such individuals are students of any college or university, then they may obtain a student health insurance plan. If self-employed individuals are active in or retired from the military, then they may be eligible for TRICARE. However, self-employed senior citizens or with certain disabilities may be eligible for government-issued Medicare plans. Young self-employed individuals can stay on their parents’ family plans until they turn 26.