Does the idea of being your own boss entice you? Self-employment can come with a lot of perks, like a flexible work schedule, a work-life balance that fits your lifestyle, and the freedom to work at your own pace. However, keep in mind that working for yourself means you aren’t provided with company benefits, like health insurance. If you work a freelance gig, have your boots in the mud establishing your first startup, or own a personal business, you have the responsibility of managing all of your work plus being your own HR department! This may sound like a lot to have on your plate, but rest assured, because you have plenty of health insurance options as a self-employed worker.
Is Self-Employment on the Rise?
Climbing the corporate ladder isn’t on everyone’s list of goals. It turns out that many Americans, especially millennials, are trading their 9-5 lifestyles for the autonomy of self-employment. According to a report by FreshBooks, the number of independent employers will triple by 2020, and 42% of those people will be millennials. Also, 43% of respondents believe that self-employment will give them more control in their careers, and 55% think they’ll have improved health and a better work/life balance due to gaining more control.
Millennials are now the largest population in the United States, and their priorities regarding workplace culture have shifted from stability and routine to freedom and flexibility. Self-employment is clearly on the rise, but independent workers still need health insurance. So, let’s discuss some of your best options for health insurance as a self-employed worker.
4 Health Insurance Options to Consider if You’re Self-Employed
1. Short-Term Health Insurance
One affordable way to get health coverage as a self-employed worker is to purchase a short-term health insurance plan. Short-term health plans have lower monthly premiums than many Affordable Care Act (ACA) options. While short-term health plans do not provide comprehensive coverage compared to that of an ACA-compliant plan (e.g. benefits for mental health, maternity, and pre-existing conditions), they do provide benefits for unexpected medical emergencies and basic medical care, like doctor visits, urgent care, and emergency room visits.
Also, did you know that you can now keep a short-term health insurance plan for up to a year? Better yet, you can renew your plan, depending on the state where you purchase your plan. So, if you don’t need comprehensive coverage, you could keep more money in your pocket with a short-term health plan and keep your coverage for up to three years in some states.
Plus, short-term health insurance is available every day of the year with no open enrollment period, so you can apply for coverage at any time and receive your benefits as soon as the following day! So, if you’re looking for health insurance that is just as flexible as your independent gig, short-term health insurance could be a great option for you.
2. Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Insurance
If you’re self-employed and need more comprehensive coverage, the health insurance marketplace could be a useful resource for you. All ACA major medical plans include essential health benefits, like maternity and newborn care, mental health services, preventive care, and coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Also, if you qualify, you can receive subsidies and cost-sharing reductions if you purchase an ACA major medical plan on the health insurance marketplace. The health insurance marketplace has a lot of options, so make sure to compare plans to find one that best meets your medical needs. Also, when you fill out your marketplace application, you’ll find out if you qualify for any tax credits or additional savings and learn if you’re eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). You can enroll for health care through the health insurance marketplace during the yearly open enrollment period.
If you’re on a budget, purchasing a high-deductible health care plan can provide you with more savings options. These plans typically have a high deductible with a lower monthly premium to help you save money, making them a good choice for those who don’t need a lot of medical care. In addition, high-deductible health plans can be paired with a tax favored account, like a health savings account (HSA), that you can contribute untaxed dollars to use for qualified health care services.
3. Private Health Insurance
If you’re busy working on your business and don’t have time to browse through all of the options on the health insurance marketplace, consider speaking with a private health insurance agent. Independent insurance agents can compare plans and prices for you based on your needs to help you find the right coverage for your lifestyle. They’ll answer your questions and help you understand the ins and outs of your health insurance options.
4. Health Insurance from Professional Associations
As a self-employed individual, you have access to join professional organizations that offer health insurance benefits and other support. For example, the National Association for the Self-Employed provides members with many benefits, like health insurance, tax services, database management, marketing support, and more. Also, depending on your profession, you may find other organizations that offer health insurance for your specific career field, like the Freelancers Union.
Keep in mind that purchasing health insurance from a professional organization or joining a membership may be more expensive than other health care options. Before purchasing a plan from a professional organization, it’s important to compare the cost of membership fees and monthly premiums from other health care providers to make the wisest decision for your budget.
Perks of Short-Term Health Insurance for Self-Employed People
At Vera Health, we understand that the gig economy is growing, and the number of self-employed workers in America continues to rise. So, we offer a simple, affordable health insurance solution for people like you: the freelancer, artist, rideshare driver, entrepreneur, and personal business owner. Simply put, we’re modern insurance for modern humans.
Here are some benefits that you can expect from a short-term health insurance plan provided through Vera*:
- Doctor visits
- Urgent care
- Hospitalization coverage
- Emergency room care
- Laboratory services and tests
- Enrollment at any time of year
- Flexible effective dates
- Next-day coverage
- Low monthly premiums*
- Flexible plan durations
- Pharmacy benefits in some states
- Home health care
- Outpatient physical therapy
- Inpatient/outpatient hospital needs
- Emergency surgery
- Ground ambulance trips
- Child immunizations
*Keep in mind that covered services may be subject to waiting periods, visit limitations, deductible, coinsurance, or copays, and/or benefit maximums depending on the plan you purchase.
*This does not account for any premium subsidies.
If you’re self-employed and need health insurance, your best option depends on the coverage you need and how much money you want to pay for it. Short-term health insurance can be a viable choice for self-employed workers who don’t have pre-existing conditions and do not need minimum essential coverage. If you’d like to hear more about Vera and how much you could save on your monthly premium, give us a call at 888-499-1187. We’d love to chat with you at any time! You can also visit us online to learn more about how we’re rethinking health insurance to help you pay for the coverage you need, not the coverage you don’t.
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.