Getting Health Insurance When You’re Self-Employed

by Miranda Marquit · 0 comments

I’ve been self-employed for 10 years. Up until last year, I had to pay for individual health insurance because my husband didn’t have a job that offered benefits. Last year, though, he started a new job with benefits, and I found out what it’s like to have access to employer-subsidized health insurance. It was great.

Now, with my circumstances changing again, it’s back to being responsible for my own health insurance. I’m not looking forward to the process, but I know it’s possible to get good coverage at an affordable cost, especially since my son and I don’t have a lot of health care costs.

Start with the Health Care Exchange

One of the first stops I’m making on my quest for self-employed health insurance is the health care exchange. Even though I’m pretty sure we don’t qualify for subsidies to help cut costs, it’s still worth it to compare costs and coverage and to see what is available to us. This option didn’t exist 10 years ago when I first started buying health insurance for my family, and I’m glad that there is something like this now.

Check with Other Insurance Aggregators

Of course, the health care exchange isn’t the only place to look for health insurance. There are a number of health insurance aggregators out there that will help you find a policy that meets your needs. Enter your basic information and different options with different premium amounts will appear. You can compare those options with what is available on the health care exchange.

Consider a High-Deductible Plan

One of the things I’ve noticed about employer benefits is that they often cut the cost of health insurance by about half. As a self-employed person, any advantage you can find is worth pursuing. In my case, a high-deductible plan and a Health Savings Account makes the most sense. My son and I don’t need a lot of health care services, so a high deductible doesn’t really affect us. We can save money each month on premiums and put the savings into a tax-advantaged HSA. This option doesn’t make sense for everyone, so carefully consider your needs before moving forward.

Don’t Forget the Tax Deduction

If you are paying for health insurance as someone who is self-employed, you should be able to deduct a portion of what you pay in premiums on your taxes. While this won’t completely offset the cost of your coverage, it will take away some of the sting. Don’t forget that your HSA contributions are tax-deductible as well. If you qualify for the HSA, you can benefit a little more.

Having a tax deduction isn’t as great as having an employer subsidize a significant portion of the health care costs, but it’s better than nothing. And, as a self-employed person with no intention of giving up freelancing, the tax deduction is one way to reduce my health care costs.

It’s possible to obtain health insurance as a self-employed person, and there are some ways to make it more affordable. But you should still be careful as you consider your options and do your homework so that you get the best possible coverage for the lowest possible price.

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