Working for yourself has many advantages, planning your days, and deciding what to do and who to work with. You are your brand.
Working for yourself has a downside: you have to cover extra things employers typically pay. These include life insurance, retirement fund, and health insurance. In addition, it can be daunting to figure out where and how you can access these benefits, even though you love the challenge of solving creative problems.
You’re often too busy with client lists and landing the next big deal. Unfortunately, this leaves little time to research and purchase a health plan. This guide will help you quickly find the right health plan and return to your hustle.
Why is it important to have health insurance?
It is pretty expensive to add health insurance premiums to your monthly expenses. Many freelancers used to opt not to be insured to save money. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was created to make it easier for Americans to get affordable health care. These options can save you money over the long term.
Even if your health is good, you still have a reason to get insurance. All health plans have essential benefits that help you keep healthy and catch problems before they become serious. As a result, you’ll be able to save money, get less sick, and receive free vaccinations and labs.
You can save money on your health insurance if you have a chronic condition and need regular care or medication.
Finally, the U.S. is a leading source of debt due to emergency medical bills. Health insurance plans can help protect your wallet and save you money.
Where to get health insurance.
There are many ways that solopreneurs can obtain health insurance.
By an insurance Marketplace (also called an Exchange), either HealthCare.gov or your state’s insurance marketplace. Your financial information may help you qualify for financial assistance. This could significantly lower your monthly premium or other healthcare expenses. In addition, signing up through a marketplace will allow you to determine if your eligibility for government-assisted coverage like Medicare or Medicaid.
By your former employer. COBRA This is an extension of health insurance for those that were once covered under an employer-sponsored plan. You can choose to keep your COBRA coverage even if your employment ends. After you have left your job, you will have 60 days to sign up. To learn more about COBRA, talk to your HR department before you quit your job. You can elect COBRA to continue coverage for up to 18 months, even if you leave your employment. It will be possible if your monthly premium gets paid on time. Although this option is more costly, it allows you to continue treatment with the doctors you saw while working.
By a client. Do your artist’s affiliations with a gallery. Do you regularly work as a writer for a particular paper? Ask your client if they offer benefits for their employees if you are. Even if you don’t work 9-5, you still need to be eligible. Many states have minimum hourly requirements. Employers must offer health benefits to employees who work more than a set number of hours per week. This is possible even if you work less. Asking is always a good idea.
Through your union. Check to see if they provide health insurance. You may need to work a certain amount of hours each week, quarter, month or year to be eligible for union coverage. For more information on your options, contact your union representative.
Are you looking for individual health insurance? We’ve got you covered. Please take a look at our plans in your state.
Which type of plan should you buy?
If you intend to use something other than the features, it’s best not to pay for a plan with too many bells and whistles. To avoid purchasing an insurance plan that has too many features, it is essential to understand the cost-sharing components of a healthcare plan.
Health insurance plans come in 5 different metal tiers. The more metal you choose, the higher your monthly premium will be and the lower your annual deductible. Your health, age, and general status will determine your chosen plan.
A catastrophic plan is a good option if you are under 30 and in good health. It has a lower premium and a high deductible. You’ll have to pay a higher cost share for your care but will still be able to access free preventive services to remain healthy all year.
A Gold or Platinum plan may be a better option if you regularly see your doctor or need to fill many prescriptions throughout the year. On the other hand, a Bronze or Silver plan may be more affordable if you don’t require much care and are not eligible for a subsidy.
Know your deal breakers.
It is essential to know your deal breakers before you purchase insurance. Knowing your deal breakers will help you make the right decision when choosing the right plan. These are some of the questions that you should ask:
Who are my doctors? Is my current plan going to cover my care?
What medications can I take? What medications are covered by my insurance? What are other drugs covered by my health insurance?
Do I need to be referred by a specialist when I receive care?
Can I access my plan and health information online through this insurance company? It is so frustrating waiting on hold! )?
What are the best ways to get affordable insurance for my entire family?
Establish an HSA.
It is worth looking into if you are shopping for a plan to fit your HSA. HSAs (Health Savings Accounts) are also high-deductible insurance plans. In addition, the fund can be used for all medical expenses during the year.
You will always retain the money, no matter how long it remains in your account. The funds will keep rolling over from year to year, and they will continue to earn interest until you use them for medical expenses. An HSA can help you save between 20-30% on medical costs. All interest earned is exempt from tax, as are withdrawals. Only one rule: You must use these funds for qualified medical expenses. Sorry, no European vacations.
Deduct your premiums.
End-of-year tax deductions are a great way to save money as a solopreneur or freelancer. Tax-deductible business expenses include long-term and long-term care, as well as health and dental expenses. You must follow these steps to be able to deduct your health insurance premiums:
Demonstrate that your business is profitable. You can’t claim this expense if you are self-employed and make no income or incur losses. You can only deduct the amount you make from your business. You will only be eligible for reimbursement if you combine income from different companies. Do not sign up for additional health coverage. You can’t deduct premiums from business expenses if you have COBRA coverage through your previous employer or health insurance through another source (like your union).
There are ways to save money once you have insurance.
You want to make the most of your health insurance. So here are some ways to reduce your annual healthcare costs.
Instead of visiting the doctor, you can use telemedicine instead. Many health plans provide telemedicine services for minor ailments like sinus infections and skin problems. You can also get refills on routine prescriptions such as birth control.
Consult a doctor who accepts your insurance. Many health plans require you to stay within the network to be covered by your insurance. Therefore, check with your insurance company to ensure your doctor accepts your plan.
Register for mail-order Rx delivery. Mail-order Rx programs are available from insurance companies. It will save you the hassle of going to the pharmacy. In addition, this is an excellent option for maintenance drugs.
When you fill your Rx, choose generic drugs. Insurance companies cover most generic prescriptions for a low-cost co-payment. Insurance companies may not cover brand names because they are more expensive.
Your essential benefits are available to you for free. All insurance plans now include annual physicals, healthy woman exams, preventative vaccines, and laboratory work. Routine screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies are also covered. Your health insurance company will pay the bill if you remain in-network.
You can visit an urgent-care clinic if you don’t need immediate care but are not in an emergency. However, hospital visits tend to be more costly.
Establish a relationship with your primary care doctor. Some plans require referrals from primary care doctors when you need to visit a specialist. Some don’t. To avoid unnecessary visits to the doctor or costly tests, it is a good idea for patients to establish a relationship with their primary care doctor.
Health insurance is key to the life of a freelancer.