With the high cost of healthcare today, we all need health insurance. Freelancers and gig workers do not have the benefit of an employer-sponsored group health plan, but they can still purchase health insurance to help cover their medical expenses. The following are some possible options.
Individual health insurance is available for purchase through the Marketplace at healthcare.gov. There are many options from which to choose, but all Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans are required to cover certain services, including:
- Emergency treatment
- Outpatient services
- Laboratory services
- Prescription medications
- Preventative and wellness services
- Chronic disease management
- Rehabilitative services
- Pediatric services
- Mental health services
Because of the COVID-19 emergency, there is a special enrollment period through August 15, 2021, during which you can still get health insurance this year. Go to the website, enter your zip code, and answer a few questions to browse plans and get an idea of prices based on your household, age, and income.
Spouse or Domestic Partner’s Health Plan
If your spouse or partner is enrolled in an employer-sponsored health plan, this may be your best option for health insurance. Employers usually cover a portion of the premium cost, which can save you money. You can generally expect to pay more if you purchase individual health insurance on the Marketplace.
Associations for Gig Workers
Many freelancers belong to professional associations. Some of these associations offer insurance to their members, including health insurance, dental insurance, and life insurance. The Freelancers Union offers health, dental, vision, term life, disability, and liability insurance to its membership, and it does not cost anything to join the union. Options for health insurance are based on your location, age, and average income.
If you are in the process of leaving an employer with a group health insurance plan to work for yourself, you can choose to continue your current coverage as an individual health plan under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). This law gives you the option to extend your health coverage for up to 18 months after leaving your employer. The drawback is you cover the entire premium cost yourself. However, COBRA coverage can provide you with a health safety net while you search for longer-lasting and, hopefully, less costly options.
What Should You Look for In a Health Plan?
When comparing health plans on the Marketplace or elsewhere, you will need to consider:
- Monthly premiums
- Annual deductible
- Copayment or coinsurance amounts
- Out-of-pocket maximum
You may want to consider other factors, such as the freedom to choose your own providers or whether your doctors are included in the health plan’s network. While some health insurance plans offer some level of dental and vision coverage, others may not. The type of health plan that works best for you may depend on factors such as the number and ages of people in your household, existing health conditions, and prescription medications. Our agent can help you find a health insurance plan with the best available coverage to suit your needs at the best available rates.