Are You Self-Employed and Applying for Health Insurance? Follow These Tips!
According to a survey conducted by Kaiser Family Foundation, employers pay around 74% of a family’s health insurance plan while the employee shoulders the remaining 26%
Self-employed workers, on the other hand, bear the full cost of health insurance plans. This makes having health insurance coverage difficult to afford for self-employed business owners, especially since many won’t qualify for group insurance discounts.
But we might be able to remedy that. This article will serve as an unofficial guide to help you make the most out of your hard-earned money and still be able to afford the coverage of a health insurance plan. Stay tuned to find out what we have in store for you.
Enroll In the Marketplace
The government has made it more accessible for anyone to have access to quality health insurance. As self-employed workers, we usually qualify for coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Once in the marketplace, you can choose which type of plan to get. You can choose between bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Each of these metals corresponds to the amount you pay out-of-pocket. For example, if you take out the bronze plan, it covers 60% of the costs, so you pay the 40% balance on your own (Silver covers 70%; Gold, 80%; Platinum, 90%). Platinum is, of course, the most ideal but keep in mind that it will also cost you the most premiums.
When enrolling, keep in mind that the open enrollment period typically starts from November 1 to December of the year (for 2022, the period is from November 1, 2022, through January 15, 2023). If you failed to enroll during this period, you might still qualify through the Special Enrollment Period (SEP), especially if you recently became self-employed.
To qualify for a SEP, you would need to be someone who lost health coverage within the last 60 days (which may have happened when you left your employer). Having a baby, moving, getting married, or adopting a child are also valid reasons to qualify for SEP.
Enroll Through an Association or Union Membership
Several associations and unions offer group health insurance coverage to their members. The Affiliated Workers Association (AWA), Freelancers Union, National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), Producers-Writers Guild of America, and The Freelancer’s Union are a few associations and unions that offer health insurance plans, some of which even have deductibles as low as $0. They also let you enroll at any time throughout the year.
They also offer PPO Health Insurance for freelancers in select states. And they even have Medicare Advantage Plans for freelancers over age 65.
Check Medicaid or Medicare
Another government initiative that you might want to consider is Medicaid or Medicare. Qualified self-employed workers may acquire subsidized health insurance through Medicaid or Medicare programs. In 35 states, a worker whose income is 133% of the federal poverty line will qualify for Medicaid. The rest of the states have different limits but are usually within the 100% to 200% of the federal poverty level.
You may also qualify for Medicaid if you’re disabled, elderly, a parent, or pregnant EVEN IF your income does not fall within the qualifications. Note: You can have both Medicaid and Medicare coverage if you meet the eligibility requirements for both programs.
Other STOP-GAP Measures
Supposing you were not able to enroll during the open enrollment period and you possess none of the qualifications for the special enrollment period, what then?
Well, you can resort to other stop-gap measures such as COBRA. COBRA is an acronym for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which provides eligible employees and their dependents the option of continued health insurance coverage when an employee loses their job or experiences a reduction of work hours. While this option can be a little expensive, it still gives you some peace of mind until you can acquire more affordable insurance.
There is no doubt that health insurance is one of the most important things to secure nowadays. With the uncertainty surrounding our daily lives, the peace of mind of knowing that when a medical emergency does happen and you don’t have to fork over an astronomical amount of money to survive is a blessing.
We’re here to help! If you live in the state of Minnesota, contact us now to be connected with one of our certified MNsure Navigators (native in multiple languages) and we’ll walk you through the process at no cost to you!