As a freelancer, you will not have access to the same employer-provided health insurance schemes that salaried workers have. That’s why choosing health insurance options that work for you is crucial.
As of 2018, there were more than 56.7 million freelancers in the United States, a figure that has undoubtedly risen significantly since then. Fortunately, there are several options for insurance for those who choose to work freelance.
By understanding the health insurance market for freelancers, you will be able to put together a plan that is both affordable and meets your medical needs. Read on to find out the five essential factors that all freelancers should consider when seeking health insurance.
1. Consider Joining Your Family’s Insurance
If you are under the age of 26, then joining your parent’s insurance plan is the absolute best option for coverage for freelancers. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) states that anyone under the age of 26 can join their parent’s plan at no cost, even if they are no longer listed as a dependent.
Anywhere between 7-10% of freelancers currently receive full health insurance coverage this way. If you qualify, this is the easiest option.
2. Being Insured Through Your Partner
When working freelance jobs, it is worth checking to see if you can join your partner’s health insurance plan. If your partner is an employee whose job offers family coverage, as many jobs do, then you will be able to join their plan free of charge. You will likely need to prove you are, in fact, their partner.
This can be as simple as providing a marriage certificate or proof of cohabitation. Once you have done this, you will be able to receive healthcare on the exact same terms as your partner.
3. Choosing Health Insurance via ACA
If you cannot rely on the health insurance providers that family members use, then your next step should be to turn to the Affordable Care Act for coverage. The ACA allows anyone to enroll in a health insurance plan regardless of their occupation or pre-existing conditions.
Each state will usually have its own ‘marketplace’ in which you can shop for insurance plans via ACA. Depending on the level of coverage you can access and afford, ACA plans could result in your only paying for 10% of healthcare costs out of pocket.
4. Extending Employer Insurance with COBRA
If you have just left a salaried job or are considering doing so to embark on a freelance career, then COBRA might just be your best bet. The cost of insurance can be a daunting prospect when you are making a career change.
That’s why COBRA exists. This law allows you to stay on your employer-provided insurance for up to 36 months after you have left your job.
5. Shopping with the Freelancer’s Union
The Freelancer’s Union is a 500,000 strong organized labor movement for freelancers across America. Membership is free and can provide you with access to many benefits provided by typical employer unions.
As well as advocacy and legal support, you can also shop for cheaper health insurance via the union’s own marketplace. These are plans that are catered to freelancers and their income, lifestyle, and healthcare needs.
Essential Freelancing Life Hacks at Your Fingertips
Choosing health insurance is just one crucial step towards becoming a stable and successful freelancer. Success also means learning the skills required to survive in today’s competitive freelancer marketplace.
For this, it is time to enroll in the School for Freelancers. Apply today to become a freelancing pro and learn everything you need to know to turn your skills into a thriving business.
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