Insurance can be one of the hardest things to deal with as someone who is self-employed. Not only can you be fined for not having health insurance but you can also find yourself in a load of trouble when you don’t have enough insurance, or any, during an emergency.
While these situations are few and far between, that doesn’t mean that they won’t happen. This means that at some point you are going to have to get insurance to cover yourself and those in your household. That can mean a lot of searching, headaches, and a ton of wasted time.
To keep you from wasting time, here are five different options that you can look into to help you make a decision about what insurance you are going to use.
Affordable Care Act
One of the most helpful options for insurance is the Affordable Care Act. When this law was put into place in March of 2010, it opened up the doors for health care access. Instead of always having to go through a job or having to pay extreme amounts each month for insurance, this act allowed people from all backgrounds access insurance.
The way that it works is based upon your income as well as what you can afford and how many people are in your household: the general spiel. Two of the largest and most affordable brands of insurance that you can use are Cigna and Oscar.
While they don’t have a plethora of accessible doctors, the affordability of these programs for single individuals or households provides just enough coverage to keep you safe.
On a personal note, I have used Oscar and enjoyed the way that their assistance team helps you find the doctors that you need, and the access to Telehealth. These are great options to look into, but don’t forget that there are also other options available thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
Something that you may not know about is that there are discount programs that doctors will sign up for in order to help provide health care to those who cannot afford general insurance. Most of these discount programs are going to have monthly payments, however the benefits of discount programs for the self-employed are often far beyond what you would think. For example Selfgood (formerly Gigly), has an incredible discount program with some of the best copays I have seen!
Something to keep in mind about discount programs is that they do not legally qualify as insurance. This can lead to fines on your taxes, however those fines will be less than what you would face when dealing with medical emergencies without a discount program.
Short-Term vs. Long-Term Coverage
Something that you also have to consider is whether or not you’re going to need short-term or long-term coverage. There are several options that are available for you from the Affordable Care Act to discount programs, although many programs will lock you into a set coverage time.
One of the fortunate things is that if you are planning on doing self-employed work for a year, you can have insurance that covers you for just a year. If you’re planning on being self-employed for only a few months you may be able to find insurance that will only cover you for three months at a time.
If you are not making enough at any point in time to pay for insurance, there is also the possibility of utilizing Medicaid. Medicaid has several different names that fall underneath the overarching umbrella of health care meant for those who can’t afford traditional insurance.
You can apply for your child, yourself, or your household. Keep in mind that when applying to Medicaid you have to take into account the total income for the entire household and insure that you are right at or below the monetary requirements of the program.
As someone who has experienced utilizing Medicaid, the programs are often full of doctors who care and are ready and willing to help you stay healthy and help you return to health. Generally there will be longer wait times for doctors, so it is very important to stay ahead of the game when making appointments.
Finally, one of the last options that you can use, and one that is pretty common, is utilizing your partners insurance. More often than not this means that you have to be married or living in the same household for a number of years before you are able to file as a dependent on your partner’s insurance.
Dependent status can help quite a bit because while it may raise the rates, you will now be able to access all of the medical care that your partner has been able to access through their job.
Health insurance is required. There’s no way around it and there are no ifs, ands, or buts. How you go about getting that insurance, now that’s where the options are. You have to weigh what it is that you need, what you are going to need and for how long in order to make the right decision about your insurance. With the options above you’ll be covered in no time!