The number of entrepreneurs and independent contractors has been steadily rising in America, and thanks to the year 2020, more people may decide to become self-employed than ever before. If you are one of these people enjoying the freedom and flexibility of self-employment, congratulations! But, it’s not all easy. Finding health insurance, for one, may be intimidating and confusing.
We’re going to answer all those questions today.
So, before you start to scour the internet to compare self-employed health plans, you need to consider why insurance is important and the ways you can get it.
Reasons to Get Health Insurance for Self Employed Individuals
No one should be without health insurance. As a self-employed person, you are an individual who can qualify for an individual health plan from the federally-run Marketplace or a private insurer. Yet, you may be wary about signing up for health insurance when it’s another expense you may have difficulties making—especially if your business is just getting off the ground.
But, that also means there are plenty of reasons to have health insurance. In some states, you are, as an individual, required to have minimum essential coverage. Otherwise, you could face tax penalties down the road. You don’t want that.
Also, self-employed medical insurance is essential these days. Without it, you face exorbitant out of pocket expenses and maybe even bankruptcy if you cannot pay it off. A monthly premium makes those bills a bit more manageable. Even if you are young, healthy and fit, there is still the possibility of an accident—so don’t risk your financial stability.
Plus, you are guaranteed certain benefits if you obtain health insurance for self-employed individuals. These essential health benefits cover everything from hospitalization, outpatient care, laboratory testing, pregnancy, pediatrics, and much more. Preventive care measures are also available at no additional cost to you, meaning you can keep yourself healthy and do what you love without any hindrances.
Types of Health Plans for Self Employed
If you had medical insurance through a previous employer, then you may not realize just how many types of health plans there are. Whether it is your first time shopping for health insurance or you have experience, now that you are self-employed, you need to know what all those plan abbreviations mean.
Here are the most common forms of health plans available:
- Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): Covers services within the network, not beyond. Typically requires you to select a primary care provider/physician (PCP) who gives you referrals to see specialists. Generally has a lower premium.
- Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): High flexibility but also a higher premium. You do not need a PCP or referrals, and you can visit out of network providers. In-network doctors are cheaper to visit.
- Point of Service (POS) Plan: Same as an HMO in terms of getting a PCP and referrals but more like a PPO in the flexibility of whom you can visit. Doctors may write referrals to out of network specialists, too.
- Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO): Similar to an HMO in set up, but the network is not limited to your geographical location. You can see any doctor in the network throughout the nation.
- High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP): Also known as catastrophic plans, these have low premiums but high deductibles and out of pocket limits. Oftentimes, HDHPs are paired with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
There are other plan types as well. Do some shopping around and compare the costs before selecting the plan that is right for you.
Health Plans for Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs are a varied sort of people. Some of them have a team of people at their backs, while others are doing it on their own—with no employees. If you consider yourself the latter, then you are self-employed or s solopreneur, as some people are calling it. As such a person, you can utilize the federally-facilitated health insurance Marketplace or other comparison websites to get the best quotes.
Just like people seeking individual and family health insurance, you can enroll during the open enrollment period that begins in November. Once you have selected a plan, you will complete the application. Now, the policy you enroll into is interested in you as an individual, not a business. That means that your quote is going to be based on your income and household size.
Depending on your answer, you could be eligible for premium tax credits. Those tax credits are paid to your insurance company directly, thereby lowering the cost of your monthly premium.
Keep in mind that you must get those tax credits based on your estimated income, not the income from the previous year. Further, those tax credits are going to change if your income or family size changes. Even if you are making a decent amount of income, your family size could help you qualify for state and federal programs, like Medicaid and CHIP.
Health Insurance for Truck or Uber Drivers
Even if you are one of the millions who are driving for Uber, you are not exactly an Uber employee. The same goes for Lyft or any other rideshare service. You do not receive health benefits from your employer. Instead, you need to cover the costs of your own medical expenses.
Since truck drivers and Uber drivers and all others are often considered independent contractors or freelancers or self-employed and also come into contact with a lot of people throughout the day, it makes sense that you would want to protect your health the best way possible.
Like regular freelancers, truck and Uber drivers can apply for insurance through the Marketplace during open enrollment. If you are currently transitioning from one job to the next, you may also opt for short term health insurance. If you are below 30 years old or qualify for a hardship exemption, catastrophic insurance may be a great option as well. Just know that both short term plans and catastrophic health insurance do have restrictions and are not ideal for those who need ongoing medical care.
Small Business Health Insurance
Once you take on another employee, you can no longer call yourself self-employed. Now, you are a small business. Any business that has at least 1 employee aside from you is immediately qualified to visit the SHOP Marketplace.
There are three options for medical insurance that small business owners can use:
- Group health insurance
- Personalized health benefits
- Health insurance stipend
While you may not be required by law to have health insurance for your employees if you have less than 50 full-time workers, you will get a tax credit for providing coverage as a small business. In fact, that tax credit could be up to 50 percent of whatever amount you, the owner, contributes to the insurance premiums of your employees.
Group health insurance is the most expensive of the three options. If your business is not making a lot of money right yet, a group policy may not be the best for you. That is when you can consider health insurance stipends and personalized health benefits.
A stipend gives you the opportunity to cover any medical expenses employees may have. However, you have no control over how those stipends are used once received. In fact, an employee could very well use that money on new clothes rather than healthcare.
Because of that reason, the personalized health benefits plan for small businesses is the most popular. With such a plan, you can give a monthly allowance for employees to spend on healthcare. Once you have received treatment, they can ask for a reimbursement.
Keep Yourself and Your Family Protected
Health insurance is vital to keeping you and the ones you love and care about safe. As a self-employed individual, your health is more important than ever before, because you are the heart and soul of your business or gig. If you are unwell, then you won’t be as productive. So be sure to get self-employed medical insurance and stay well!
Don’t forget that self-employed open enrollment is right around the corner! You have between November 1 to December 15 to enroll in a plan suitable for your freelancing or small business. Don’t forget to apply for credits or subsidies to help with some of the costs.
Receive your self employed insurance quotes today from AffordableHealthPlansUSA.com. We have a broad range of insurance policies to choose from.