As anyone who has worked a full-time, 9-to-5, corporate job knows, there are a lot of perks to working on a freelance basis. You get to work your own hours, on your own terms and in your own space. You can take on jobs when it makes sense to you, and pass on projects if it doesn’t. And above all, you are working for yourself. That said, there are a lot of cons of freelance work as well. You don’t get paid time off, for one. You only make that paper when you work, you often have to work your butt off just to get hired for projects. And arguably at the top of the list: if you are a freelancer then you don’t have health insurance provided by your employer. And as we all know, individual health insurance is important. It’s also required that everyone has it, under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and if you don’t have an insurance plan you will have to pay a fine, which can either be a flat fee or a percentage of your annual income, whichever is higher. The only thing worse than paying for an insurance plan you’re not sure you need is paying a fine with money you know you need.
If you thought that because you work on a freelance basis you can’t afford health insurance, you are seriously mistaken, which is really really good news for the more than 53 million freelance employees in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015. But where do you begin, and how do you know which insurance plan will work best for you? There’s a lot to consider, that’s for sure. Insurance plans differ from state to state, and they differ based on your age, medical condition, number of dependents and your coverage needs. According to Freelancer’s Union, you need to decide what is more important to you, “a lower monthly premium or lower out-of-pocket costs if you need care? You can’t have both.” You also need to think about the kinds of medical services you typically need and the medication you take, or you plan to take in the future. You can choose a plan that is best suited to help you in case of a medical emergency (and with low upfront costs now) or a plan that gets you the most coverage today (but comes with higher costs).
You’ll need to do a little thinking and a little research, but in the end you’ll know that your health is protected and you don’t have to stress about getting sick or if something more serious were to happen to you. To help you sort through this really important issue, here are 4 awesome health insurance plans to look into if you are a freelancer.
One of the perks of working for yourself is that you can pick your own healthcare plan, and you aren’t forced to accept another plan that your company or boss chose for you. With Humana, you can be flexible based on your health needs, coverage goals and budget. In addition, Humana offers financial assistance for medical expenses, and if you qualify “financial assistance and lower out-of-pocket costs could help make healthcare coverage more affordable.” Qualification depends on household income and family size and is dictated by federal guidelines, but if you are self-employed and worried you can’t afford health insurance, you should definitely see if Humana’s individual health insurance plan can help you.
United Health Care
United is a great option if you not only want to find a plan that makes sense for you, financially (aka you can find cheap plans with low out of pocket costs), but also if you’re looking to have all of your preventative care covered and you want access to tools and guides to keep you healthy. United’s website has a ton of tools and resources to help you find the best plan for you, and they also offer a 24-hour nurse program, which is a toll-free number that you can call any time, any day to discuss your health concerns, symptoms and issues.
Cigna understands that working for yourself is hard work, and if you can’t work, then you won’t have an income and won’t be able to afford healthcare (it’s a vicious cycle). So they offer individual and family plans for freelancers that can keep you healthy and safe so you can work without paying a fortune. Their plan promises to cover 100% of in-network preventative care, which is a big deal, and has a large network of medical professionals to choose from so you can stay in-network and keep costs low.
Affordable Care Act (ACA)
The beauty of ACA is that you can find a health insurance that works for you, even if you are a freelance employee who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for insurance or be able to afford it. You’ll be eligible for high-quality insurance to keep you healthy and safe, without having to pay a premium (that you most likely can’t or don’t want to afford). As with most insurance companies there are different levels of coverage based on your needs, and depending on how much you pay for your plan, you’ll get a different level of coverage from the insurance company. The more you pay, the more the insurance company pays on your behalf. Pretty simple.