Whatever side you fall on concerning the recent Supreme Court decision that confirmed the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, we can likely all agree that health insurance is a mess. For those of us who are freelancers, it’s even more of a nightmare, simply because we can’t rely on our employers to provide us with coverage. We have to cover ourselves. Personally, I went without health insurance for quite some time, before I realized that I would meet financial ruin if something happened to me. Here are some tips for securing health insurance if you’re your own boss.
1. If you’re relatively healthy, select a plan with a high deductible.
Many freelancers don’t get health insurance because they think, as healthy individuals, they won’t need it and it’s just way too expensive. As noted, you’re setting yourself up for financial catastrophe if and when a medical emergency occurs. If you are indeed healthy, and you don’t often go to doctors for routine prescriptions or checkups, then select a plan with a very high deductible. While there are limits to coverage with high deductibles, they are much cheaper and will cover your expenses if an emergency occurs.
2. Explore the option of securing health insurance through your spouse.
In an ideal world, you can secure affordable health insurance on your own. Sometimes, however, you must make do in whichever way you can. If your spouse happens to be employed by a company offering benefits, try seeing if you can be covered as well. If you are just starting your freelance career, and your spouse is not employed, make a deal with your spouse in which you promise to find insured employment in several years if he or she will “take one for the team” now. If you are 26 or under, you can still be covered by your parents’ insurance, so be sure to look into this option as well.
3. Coverage through unions, though not perfect, are usually more affordable.
Perhaps the best option for freelancers is to join the Freelancers Union, which offers health insurance. Although the health insurance offered isn’t perfect, it’s probably your most affordable option. FU has different plans for different states, and it does have some eligibility restrictions, so be sure to check it out and see what you’re eligible for.
4. Keep up-to-date on health insurance reform.
Again, no matter how you feel politically about the Affordable Care Act, the health insurance industry will likely change dramatically in the next two or three years. By staying up-to-date on the changes, you’ll be able to understand how these changes will affect you in your efforts to secure affordable, full health insurance coverage. The Freelancers Union covers these policy issues and more on its website. It’s an easy way to stay abreast of legislation that directly impacts you as a freelancer.
Of course, no matter how hard you research, you likely won’t end up with a wholly satisfactory health insurance plan. But being covered is the first step. You really can’t afford to work without it. Good luck!
Susan is a freelance blogger who enjoys writing about automotive and health news, technology, lifestyle and personal finance. She often researches and writes about automobile, property and health insurance, helping consumers find the best insurance quotes online. Susan welcomes comments.