How Does Health Insurance Work When You Are a Freelancer?

Share via

There is this growing tendency among skilled professionals to pursue a working career in a freelancer's capacity. Freelancers are usually grouped with self-employed professionals or independent contractors in terms of financial or employment category. It is generally someone who carries out business independently by offering their expertise and skills but not to any particular exclusive business or company. Being a freelancer gives you an outstanding work-life balance, not to mention enhanced flexibility.

But on the flip-side, there are no sure salaries, and they are tasked with managing all aspects of their work themselves, including sourcing work. Like all other people and especially freelancers, healthcare insurance is one of the main things they need to consider about their wellbeing. Just think of this scenario- a freelancer falls ill and can't work for freelancers, which generally means that they won't have any income. The person will end up footing all medical bills as the option of group insurance provided by firms is not available. That doesn't make healthcare insurance cheap. As per the Kaiser Family Foundation, on average, the lowest bronze-tier premiums cost you $330 on average. The figure for gold tier plans stands at $501.

There are several avenues open for US-based freelancers to explore. Some of the more prominent such options are as follows:

The ACA Or Affordable Care Act

The ACA or Affordable Care Act has made it relatively simple for individuals and certain types of small businesses to seek health insurance through the healthcare marketplace created by the Act. Enrollment or instead open enrollment for these plans starts in November and ends in the middle of December. The programs usually come into effect at the beginning of January of the year that follows. The Act also has provisions for people who miss the open enrollment, and certain people might qualify for separate select registrations. You should visit the government website to take the guesswork out for this option. The factors that allow you for the latter include specific life changes and other particular circumstances. Another healthcare option is Medicaid, provided you qualify for it.

The Insurance Plan Of Your Partner

Another option sometimes open to freelancers is to join health insurance plans provided to their full-time worker spouse by their employer. Such programs are especially helpful in saving money in health insurance costs in lower premiums, being employer-based plans to which employers contribute. However, your partner doesn't need to be your spouse, as such employee benefits often cover domestic partners.

Cobra Coverage

Freelancers often begin their working careers as full-time paid employees. Accordingly, they have health insurance for their employee benefits. If it is so, usually there is a way for you to switch to individual plans for a group plan. The details of such eligibility for cobra coverage is something that the only insurance provider can inform you. Sometimes Cobra plans work out to be more expensive based on the particular personal situation. Usually, the additional savings you get by working for yourself might help to offset such costs. One qualification for special enrollment happens to be leaving a job, so you need to ensure that you properly assess all options open to you.

Associations

For professionals in a field with dedicated associations or freelancers who are a part of an association, they are often liable to get group insurance opportunities as a part of being a member. Group insurance gives freelancers the excellent opportunity to get together as members of a group consisting of self-employed workers.

Such insurance often closely resembles the group insurance that employers provide. One can cite the example of the Freelancers Union in this context. This group offers a specific health insurance plan to its members. Additionally, there are life and dental insurance plans that supplement regular medical health insurance.

Temporary Or Short Term Insurance

The temporary or short-term health insurance plans lack coverage and benefits that the ACA or Affordable Care Act plans provide. However, people who have missed the ACA's open enrollment might want to turn to temporary health insurance plans. This will help you cover your medical expenses till you get the kind of coverage that ACA offers once enrollment begins the following year.

You can use various strategies to determine the health insurance policy that is affordable and suits you the most. Again, multiple factors determine your choice of health insurance. The most important among such factors are your situation and special and unique needs. Best of luck in figuring out which health insurance you want to opt for, considering you are a freelancer.