Are you looking for the best health insurance for freelancers? If you currently freelance or have an interest in joining the freelancing world, you probably already know that you won’t receive health insurance benefits as a self-employed worker.
Health care coverage is an essential consideration if you’re thinking about freelancing. Even if you don’t get sick often and don’t have any pre-existing conditions to treat, having health insurance in place can help you protect yourself financially in the event of a medical emergency. Thankfully, you can have peace of mind knowing that health insurance for freelancers exists, so you don’t have to trade a flexible lifestyle for a health insurance plan.
What Is Freelancing?
A freelance worker is someone who manages their work themselves and is not employed by a specific company. Freelancers are self-employed and create work for specific or multiple clients, and they typically do so remotely. There are many types of freelance jobs, like:
- Writers, editors, and proofreaders
- Graphic designers
- Web developers and programmers
- Photographers and videographers
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists
- Virtual assistants
- Online tutors
How Many People Do Freelance Work in the U.S?
The U.S. now has more than 56.7 freelance workers, and according to HR Drive, the number of freelance workers is growing three times faster than the rest of the job force. Also, almost half of the millennial population, the largest demographic in the workforce, freelanced in 2018 (and that number is expected to rise)!
What Are the Benefits of Freelancing?
Freelancing is an attractive career move for a variety of reasons. The modern workforce is evolving, and a lot of people, especially millennials, crave more flexibility than the 9-5 workday provides. Here are six of the top reasons why so many individuals opt for freelance gigs over traditional jobs:
- Flexible work hours: Work at your most productive, creative hours to produce high-quality work.
- No commute: Work from home or your favorite coffee shop to save money on gas and avoid stress-inducing traffic.
- Better work-life balance: Spend more time with your kids, pets, and implement more me-time throughout your day.
- Autonomy over workload and relationships: Operate on your hours, on your rates, and on your terms with your preferred clients.
- More opportunities to make new connections: Meet new people, clients, mentors, business owners, and more as you develop and enhance your network.
- A healthier lifestyle:
Affordable Health Insurance for Freelancers: What Are Your Options?
As a freelancer, you can enjoy many positive perks, like choosing your own hours and workload. However, you have the challenge of finding reliable, affordable health insurance. You can rest assured, though, because there are plenty of options to choose from to make sure you find one that checks all of your boxes. Here are three to help you get started.
1. Short-Term Health Insurance
If you don’t have any pre-existing conditions and don’t qualify for tax subsidies through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), then short-term health insurance could be an affordable coverage option for you.
Short-term health insurance has lower monthly premiums than many comprehensive major medical options, because it has limitations and exclusions on what it can and cannot cover. Short-term health insurance includes benefits for emergency medical care as well as everyday health services. However, it doesn’t provide coverage for all of the essential health benefits, which include but aren’t limited to:
- Ambulatory patient services
- Emergency services
- Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
- Mental health and substance use disorder services
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
- Laboratory services
- Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
- Pediatric services, including oral and vision care
If you don’t want coverage for all of the essential health benefits, though, you could save money on your insurance with a short-term medical plan. Also, you can now keep short-term health coverage for up to a year and renew it up to two additional times.
Short-term health insurance doesn’t operate on an open enrollment schedule, so you can apply 365 days a year, making it a viable option for freelancers who need health insurance outside of the yearly open enrollment period.
2. Coverage Through the Health Insurance Marketplace
Health insurance plans that comply with the ACA must include coverage for all of the essential health benefits, and coverage for pre-existing conditions, so if you need comprehensive major medical insurance, then shopping through the health insurance marketplace could be a great idea for you. These plans can also offer additional benefits, like dental and vision insurance.
Also, the ACA has tax subsidies that you can apply for as a self-employed worker to help lower your health insurance costs. Not everyone is eligible for the premium tax subsidy, which is based on income. If you make too much money to receive a tax subsidy, then your health insurance costs will not decrease.
3. Health Insurance From the Freelancers Union
Another option, the Freelancers Union, offers health insurance to support freelance workers who don’t receive health care through their workplace. There are also supplemental plans to choose from that include dental and life insurance.
The Freelancers Union offers helpful resources, like an FAQ page, subsidy information, and other guides to help freelancers find the right health insurance plan that fits their coverage needs and budget.
How Much Does Health Insurance Cost for Freelancers?
According to the United States Census Bureau, roughly 16% of Americans have individual health insurance plans. Over half of insured Americans have group health insurance, but individual health plans help protect the health of millions of self-employed individuals and their families.
How much do individual health insurance plans cost? The short answer to this question is: it depends. However, there are some factors to consider that can help you have a better idea of how much you’ll pay for individual health insurance. For example, do you need coverage for just yourself, or do you need to add on your spouse or family? Also, insurance companies consider other personal information to determine your health insurance cost, like your zip code, age, and whether or not you use tobacco.
Plus, the type of plan that you choose will affect your health insurance cost. Short-term health insurance can be a more affordable option for those who don’t need coverage for pre-existing conditions, mental health services, or pregnancy care, and don’t qualify for a tax subsidy through the ACA.
However, if you have pre-existing conditions and do qualify for a tax subsidy, then a comprehensive major medical plan could be affordable as well, and would ensure that you have the coverage you need in place. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the average U.S. citizen with a health plan through the marketplace paid $106 per month after tax subsidies in 2016. However, if you don’t qualify for a tax subsidy, your monthly premium could be much higher.
To choose the most reliable, cost-effective health insurance for freelancers, always compare your plan options, consider how much coverage you will use, and select the plan that covers your bases and your budget.
When Can Freelancers Enroll for Health Insurance?
If you’re a new freelancer, you have some wiggle room when it comes to health insurance enrollment. Plans that comply with the ACA are typically available during an annual enrollment period. However, if you’re experiencing a qualifying life event, like starting a new job, then you can apply for a marketplace plan through a special enrollment period.
Also, short-term health insurance is available at any time since it doesn’t have an open enrollment period. Plus, if you’re approved for coverage, then your benefits could kick in as soon as the following day. * Short-term health insurance can provide relief for individuals and families who need affordable coverage as quickly as possible.
Finding health insurance for freelancers can be a relatively simple process with the right knowledge and resources. To learn more about your coverage options and to discover if short-term health insurance could be for you, call 888-499-1187 to chat with a Vera Health expert, or check us out online today! Even if you need more coverage than short-term health insurance can offer, we can help you find the right health care plan, even if it’s not with us!
*Covered services may be subject to waiting periods, visit limitations, deductible, coinsurance, or copays, and/or benefit maximums depending on the plan you purchase.
Short Term Medical coverage is not required to comply with federal market requirements for health insurance, principally those contained in the Affordable Care Act. Be sure to check your policy carefully to make sure you are aware of any exclusions or limitations regarding coverage of pre-existing conditions or health benefits (such as hospitalization, emergency service, maternity care, preventive care, prescription drugs, and mental health and substance use disorder services). If this coverage expires or you lose eligibility for this coverage, you might have to wait until an open enrollment period to get other health insurance coverage.