When you quit your job as an employee, you left behind being told when you could and couldn’t work. You left those limiting paychecks at the door, and you left being told what to do, too.
You also left your work-sponsored health insurance, and you’re kind of regretting that part.
No fear, though! You might be surprised at how simple it is to get self-employed or freelancer health insurance.
The key is knowing your options and deciding which one is best for your personal situation.
This short guide goes over the multiple types of insurance available and how to get it. You can leave the drudgery of working for someone else behind and still have your health taken care of at the same time.
1. Private Insurance
Does your spouse have a family policy they can add you onto? That’s often the quickest and easiest way to get health insurance.
If not, check out the Healthcare Marketplace. It’s an organization set up per the terms of the Affordable Healthcare Act back during the Obama Administration. The intent is to get everyone reputable health insurance, regardless of their previous medical history.
The Marketplace uses your tax returns to determine how much of a discount you get on your insurance premium when you sign up. Depending on your income, yours could range from free to hundreds of dollars a month.
To find the right coverage for you, you’ll be asked questions about your current primary physician and any medications you take regularly. The site uses that info to find you insurance that matches those two important factors.
From there, you’ll see the copay, deductible, and monthly premium. Choose the one that fits your budget and your medical needs.
One thing to note about working with the Healthcare Marketplace is that it’s time-sensitive. Unless you had a major life-changing event (changing jobs is one of them), you’ll have to wait until Open Enrollment in October to get coverage.
2. Freelancers’ Groups
With millions of freelancers in the gig economy, it’s a guarantee that you’re not alone in your need for insurance. Because it’s such an in-demand issue, many freelancer groups can help.
Look for groups that merge multiple freelance and self-employed categories into one membership. For instance, you can find a platform that often offers insurance and other discounted services that freelancers use.
When the platform has enough members, it can partner with major companies to get everyone inexpensive premiums.
This could be with indemnity insurance that uses a fee-for-service coverage plan. Or, it might be supplemental coverage that only kicks in if you’re diagnosed with the qualifying conditions.
A well-known example of this is AFLAC. You pay a premium for something like a broken bone or cancer with these policies. If you end up with that specific medical condition, the company pays you a lump sum to help with your expenses.
Whichever type of coverage you prefer, a freelancer group out there can get you insurance protection.
3. Health Savings Accounts
You’ve likely heard of an HSA but might not be too familiar with the term. Short for health savings accounts, HSA refers to money set aside specifically for healthcare use.
It works similarly to a savings account. You contribute money to the fund, and it’s there to cover your medical bills when you need it.
If you don’t go to the doctor too often, this is a smart way to save money. Instead of putting hundreds of dollars each month toward a premium you may never use, you sock that money into your HSA.
HSAs are popular because of the tax benefits contributors get. The money that goes toward your account isn’t subject to federal income tax, and any interest or investments you get from your account are tax-free.
When you need to take the money out to pay for a qualified medical expense, you don’t pay taxes on it, either.
You can open an HSA account at most banks or financial institutions. The downfall is that if you have a major health emergency, such as cancer or a heart attack, your savings will disappear fast.
Freelancers and self-employed individuals need the same health protection that “employed” persons have access to. If you’re not sure where to go to get it, you can end up giving up and skipping this essential insurance.
These three simple types of coverage fit most budgets and medical conditions. You don’t have to go without insurance when you’re self-employed. Just start investing in one (or all) of these policies.