Because freelancers are frequently self-employed, they do not have access to health insurance through their employer. This can make finding and affording affordable health insurance difficult.
There are several types of health insurance available to freelancers, and the best option for you will depend on your specific needs and circumstances. In this article, we’ll go over the best health insurance options for freelancers and offer advice on how to pick the best plan for you.
Health Insurance Plan Types
Health insurance plans are classified into four types:
- HMO (Health Maintenance Organization): HMO plans necessitate the selection of a primary care physician (PCP) to coordinate your care. Before seeing a specialist, you must first see your primary care physician for a referral. HMO plans typically have lower premiums than other types of plans, but they may impose additional restrictions on your care.
- PPO (Preferred Provider Organization): PPO plans allow you to choose your doctors and specialists more freely. You do not need a referral to see a specialist, and you can go outside of your network of providers, but the cost-sharing will be higher. PPO plans have higher premiums than HMO plans, but they provide more freedom and flexibility.
- EPO (Exclusive Provider Organization): Like HMO plans, EPO plans have a smaller network of providers. To receive coverage, you must visit a provider within your network, and going outside of your network will result in a higher cost-sharing. Premiums for EPO plans are typically lower than those for PPO plans, but they provide less flexibility.
- POS (Point-of-Service) plans are a cross between HMO and PPO plans. You select a primary care physician to coordinate your care, but you can also see specialists without a referral. Although POS plans have lower premiums than PPO plans, they may have more restrictions on your care.
Selecting the Best Health Insurance Policy
There are several factors to consider when selecting a health insurance plan, including:
- Cost: When selecting a health insurance plan, premiums, deductibles, copays, and coinsurance are all important factors to consider. Because freelancers frequently have to pay for their own health insurance, it is critical to find an affordable plan.
- Consider the types of healthcare services that are important to you. If you have a chronic health condition, for example, you must ensure that your plan covers your medications and treatments.
- Think about which doctors and hospitals are in your network. If you have a preferred doctor or hospital, ensure that they are part of the network of the plan you select.
- Consider the insurance company’s reputation in terms of customer service. Read other customers’ reviews to learn about their interactions with the company’s customer service.
How to Get Freelance Health Insurance
There are several options for obtaining health insurance as a freelancer. Some of the most common choices are:
- The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is a federal law that provides subsidies to help people afford health insurance. The ACA marketplace allows freelancers to purchase health insurance.
- Short-term health insurance plans are typically less expensive than long-term plans, but they provide less coverage. Short-term health insurance plans can be a good option for freelancers who are between jobs or who need to bridge the gap between health insurance plans.
- Private health insurance: Independent contractors can also purchase health insurance from a private insurance company. Private health insurance plans are typically more comprehensive than short-term plans, but they are also more expensive.
Freelancers may be able to join an association that provides group health insurance plans. Group health insurance plans are typically less expensive and provide more coverage than individual plans.
Advice on Choosing the Best Health Insurance Plan
Here are some pointers to consider when selecting a health insurance plan as a freelancer:
- Plan comparison: Don’t just buy the first plan you come across. Spend some time comparing different plans to find the one that is best for you. You can compare plans on the HealthCare.gov website.
- Consider your requirements: Consider what kinds of healthcare services are important to you. Do you suffer from any chronic illnesses? Do you require prescription medications? Check that your plan includes the services you require.
- Read the small print: Before purchasing any health insurance plan, read the fine print. This will assist you in comprehending the plan’s coverage, exclusions, and limitations.
- Get assistance if you require it: There are several resources available to you if you need assistance selecting a health insurance plan. You can speak with a representative profile picture or contact a health insurance broker.
Here are some more pointers for freelancers looking for health insurance:
- Consider your financial situation: Because freelancers’ incomes are often unpredictable, it’s critical to find an affordable health insurance plan. Look for plans with low deductibles and premiums.
- Look around: When it comes to health insurance, don’t be afraid to shop around. There are numerous plans to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that meets your requirements and budget.
- Request assistance: There are several resources available to you if you need assistance selecting a health insurance plan. You can speak with a health insurance broker, a representative from your local chamber of commerce, or go to HealthCare.gov.
Here are some additional health insurance options for independent contractors:
Some freelancer unions provide health insurance plans to their members. These plans may be a good option for freelancers looking for low-cost coverage.
Health sharing ministries are not health insurance plans, but they can provide financial assistance to members with medical expenses. For freelancers who want affordable coverage and don’t mind the religious aspect of these programs, health sharing ministries are a good option.
Medicaid is a government-run health-care program for low-income individuals and families. If you meet the income requirements, you may be eligible for Medicaid coverage.
How to Stay Healthy as a Freelancer
In addition to having health insurance, it is critical for a freelancer to maintain good health. Here are a few pointers:
- Exercise on a regular basis: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
- Consume a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit your intake of processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats.
- Sleep well: Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
- Manage stress: Stress can have a negative impact on both your physical and mental health. Find healthy stress-management techniques such as exercise, yoga, or meditation.
By following these guidelines, freelancers can stay healthy while also having peace of mind that they are financially protected in the event of a medical emergency.