Options For Self Employed Health Insurance

For the self employed, health insurance is a major concern, simply because most sole proprietors and entrepreneurs cannot afford to provide themselves with the same kind of coverage they once had as part of an employee benefits package. Typically, when it comes to self employed health insurance, there are four  options: Spousal coverage, group plans, individual plans, and COBRA.

Spouse Coverage

This is the simplest option, for self employed individuals who are married. The coverage is likely going to be the same, if not better, than what you could get on your own and would be much more cost effective than your own policy. Discuss this option with your spouse to determine more specifics about coverage levels, deductibles, and premium increases. Some companies only allow for annual policy changes, or life event changes, so find out the soonest possible date you could be added to the policy.

Group Plans

Depending on the state you live in, you may be able to find a company that allows individuals to enroll in group plans as groups of one. Some states do not allow this, though, so it is important to do your research first. The benefit to this method as opposed to the individual plan is that you will get a group rate and you cannot be denied because of a health condition.

Individual Plans

These plans are better suited for people who do not have any pre-existing medical conditions. If you do have a medical condition that could hinder your ability to get an individual plan, shop around and determine the cheapest and best policy for your condition. The current state of your health will play a major role in whether or not you are accepted into a plan.

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)

COBRA is the legislation that allows people to continue to pay for coverage (at a much higher rate) from their previous employer while they wait for their new employer benefits to activate (usually after a 60 or 90 day probationary period.) If you can afford to do so, use COBRA to keep your current coverage until you can find self employed health insurance.

While these options are available to help the self employed with health insurance, no one said they come cheap. It may be very difficult to afford any kind of health care coverage, especially if your business is just starting out. Even still, the cost of an emergency medical visit or even a sick visit to a doctor will be more without insurance, and having some form of coverage is better than none at all. Take steps to reduce the cost of coverage by raising the deductible amount, reducing the total level of coverage, and attempt to pay the premium quarterly or annually to reduce the overall impact of monthly fees.

Remember to talk to the local Chamber of Commerce because they can help you find affordable insurance coverage, and put you in touch with some organizations for the self employed that will give you the benefit of a group policy while being able to enjoy the freedom of self employment, even if your state does not allow for a group of one plan.


blog comments powered by Disqus