There are plenty of perks associated with being self-employed. For one thing, you get to be your own boss, choosing the projects or clients you prefer and setting your own schedule. You can take time off whenever you please and in most cases you can charge a premium for your work. Unfortunately, there are also drawbacks to this career path, including a lack of access to employer-sponsored benefits such as health insurance (hence the high price tag for your services). The passage of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA), mandates that all U.S. citizens must be insured (excepting those that qualify for exemptions), meaning that you’re on the hook for paying out-of-pocket for your health insurance policy. The good news is that you have plenty of options to explore.
As a self-employed individual, you can, of course, get health insurance through an agent, a broker, or directly from a provider. There are many companies offering private insurance policies, so you simply need to do some comparison shopping and find the policy that meets your needs in terms of coverage and cost. Unfortunately, this may be a more expensive option if you are accustomed to employer-provided insurance. There are, however, companies that specialize in providing policies tailored to freelance and other self-employed individuals. You could, for example, look for a variety of insurance policies available through the Freelancers Union.
You can also apply for insurance coverage through the healthcare marketplace or your state’s insurance exchange. Since you are not eligible for health benefits through employment (having no employer but yourself), you are among the specialized groups that Obamacare was designed to cater to. You (or your agent) simply start by filling out an application which will determine your rates and if you are eligible for a government subsidy to help offset the monthly cost of your policy. From there you will decide the level of coverage you’re interested in. Plans range from bronze at the low end to platinum at the high end, with silver and gold levels in between. The type of coverage you select will determine the benefits you receive, and to an extent the price you pay for your policy.
Regardless of which route you choose to obtain your insurance, the cost for coverage is based on several factors, including age, location, and tobacco use. As a self-employed individual you have no choice but to pay out-of-pocket for insurance premiums, unless you want to pay the penalty associated with choosing to go without any coverage at all. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay hundreds of dollars for your policy. With a bit of research and comparison-shopping you can find options that will provide you with the peace of mind that comes with having health insurance, without putting you in the poorhouse in the process.
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