Health Insurance for Self Employed
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With the most recent public health crisis in the form of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s now the perfect time for us to take closer care of ourselves and our loved ones.
If you have the capacity to do so, there’s absolutely no reason not to get health insurance. This is especially important if you’re a self-employed individual.
In the US, all large businesses are required to provide health benefits to their employees. If you’re not employed in a traditional sense, you’re pretty much on your own in case you get into a medical emergency.
Here, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about getting health insurance for self-employed individuals to help you have a more secure life.
Self Employed vs. Small Business Employer
Before we get into the actual topic, we need to have a clear definition of what self-employed even means.
Generally speaking, self-employed means working for one’s self without an employer and getting paid directly for products or services offered.
A self-employed individual’s lack of employees is their main distinction from small business owners. If you have even one employee, you cease to become a self-employed individual and become a small business employer.
In more legal terms, once you have employees to declare in a W-2 Form every annual filing, you’re a small business employer and not a self-employed individual.
This means that you can’t consider independent contractors as employees since you don’t have to report their income to a W-2 form every year.
Some examples of self-employed individuals include:
- Real estate agents
- Massage therapists
- Graphic designers
How to Get Health Insurance if You’re Self Employed
Most people you know probably get their health insurance from their employer. This is typically the most convenient and most affordable option for one main reason: employers usually get a bulk discount from partner insurance providers.
On the other hand, if you’re a self-employed individual then you don’t have that luxury. Therefore, you have to search for the right health insurance policies yourself.
Fortunately, there are many options you can choose from, which we’ll discuss below.
The ACA Marketplace is a centralized and standardized location for the most affordable health insurance needs. It also offers insurance policies to individuals, including those who are self-employed.
Here are some of types of individuals who can get their policy from the ACA Marketplace:
- Work as consultants, freelancers, or private contractors
- Established or manage their businesses
- Run a profiting business without employees
All the insurance policies in the Marketplace cover the basic benefits mandated by the government, which include inpatient and outpatient care, preventive care, therapy and rehabilitation, and more.
At the very least, you’re likely to find and select an insurance policy that covers the most common risks you are likely to face.
Aside from being practical and affordable, the ACA Marketplace offers other advantages, as well.
- CHIP Program. If you have children, the Children’s Health Insurance Program is a highly practical way to include them in your policy.
- Subsidies and discounts. If you pass a predefined set of criteria, you can also qualify for government subsidies and discounts. Make sure you check your standing and the requirements.
- Multiple options. Even if you don’t qualify for subsidies, the Marketplace offers multiple policies that can cater to your particular needs.
- Enrollment help. You can also freely ask insurance councilors for help if you find navigating the insurance process to be confusing.
- Enrollment periods and special qualifying events. Although you can get many deals in the Marketplace, there are only specific enrollment periods when you can apply – unless you have a life event that qualifies you for a special enrollment like, childbirth, marriage, etc.
Private Health Insurance
Many private insurance providers have customization services for self-employed individuals.
This is particularly essential if you have a specialized practice and can’t rely on an employer to provide a blanket policy that suits your niche.
For example, bricklayers won’t have the same risks as graphic designers. Meanwhile, roof workers are more likely to suffer from accidents like falls and slips than either of those professions.
More than that, if you have a family of your own, you’re also going to want a broad range of benefits that can cover not just you, but also your family members.
Every industry has its own risk and every individual or family has their own specific needs, so the ability to fully customize your health policy is a great feature.
If you plan to go down this route, you will likely need to visit every provider’s website and check out their offerings one by one.
Here at Magnum Insurance, we offer reasonable rates and excellent customization opportunities. This can help you match with the health protection that you and your loved ones need – at a price that you can afford.
You can also talk to independent insurance brokers that can help you match your needs to the right policy.
Healthcare Sharing Ministries
Another lesser-known solution for self-employed individuals is called healthcare sharing ministries.
These ministries aren’t exactly insurance policies, but they do function similarly. The term refers to a group of people that agreed to pool their money to cover for major healthcare costs of a member – much like a DIY insurance fund.
The goal of these ministries is to cover the basic healthcare costs of their members. They usually exist in local churches, hence the name. However, the same principle can apply to any other group, whether it’s with family members, neighbors, or other categorizations.
Groups like this will require a much smaller monthly fee compared to commercial insurance policies. The downside is that they’re very limited.
For one, the benefits will depend only on what the group agrees to pay for. Plus, these groups aren’t covered by the ACA mandate, so there’s no standardization and they’re not required to cover preexisting conditions.
Thus, this is only a reasonable option if you’re relatively healthy, have no dependents, and aren’t willing or able to shell out the kind of money that regular insurance policies require.
While you might be working for yourself right now, you may only be doing so for a limited amount of time.
If you’re in between jobs and only started freelancing while you’re looking for more stable employment, this can change your needs and the nature of the coverage that’s best for you.
As such, there are a few options that you can look at, such as the following.
- COBRA. Short for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, this type of insurance allows you to keep your previous employer’s insurance plan for up to 18-36 months even after you’ve left the company.
- Short-term private health insurance. Most insurance providers have customizable short-term plans designed to cover basic benefits, although they also have their limits.
- Industry-specific health insurance. Try to look for organizations for your specific profession and see what insurance policies they recommend. Typically, these will be easily accessible but won’t be as comprehensive, so they’re only good for the short term.
Buying Health Insurance for Self Employed Individuals
If you’re a self-employed individual, it’s critical for you to have health insurance if you want to have a secured future. Health issues can happen in the blink of an eye, and if you don’t have the right resources in place, it’s easy to get backed into a corner that may be difficult to get out of.
Having a comprehensive health insurance plan is the best way to prepare for the future. And by getting your policy here at Magnum Insurance, you can rest assured that you won’t have to suffer financial difficulties on top of your medica struggles.
Sounds like what you need? Give us a call now!
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