For many workers, two main obstacles prevent them from chasing a freelance life: lack of job security and no access to benefits such as health insurance plans. While your career may lend itself perfectly to freelance life, fear that you will lack medical coverage can really hold workers back. It may surprise you to read, therefore, that health insurance for freelance workers is a real-life thing — and you could benefit.
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What Is A Freelance Worker?
In the simplest terms, a freelance worker refers to those individuals who do not work for an organization or business. Instead, they offer their services independently. This may include consultancy work, as well as offering themselves as an independent contractor.
According to recent figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 10.6 million “independent contractors or freelancers” in the country in May 2017. In total, these workers comprised 6.9% of all employment in the USA.
It is easy to see the appeal of a freelance life for many. You can enjoy the work you love when you want to do it and have greater freedom and flexibility. In addition to the numerous benefits, there are, however, a few concerns.
Many freelance workers worry that they do not have access to the same perks and benefits as traditionally employed workers. Health insurance for freelance workers can be a major concern and may even put employees off of the freelance life.
That does not have to be the case, however. Affordable health insurance could be firmly in your grasp; you just have to do a little searching. With the right research, you can enjoy low monthly premiums, access to health care, and a health plan that is a perfect fit.
How To Access Health Insurance for Freelance Workers
Accessing health insurance for freelance workers could actually be far easier than you anticipated. There are a number of viable options available, which we will explore below.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA)
The Affordable Care Act (or ACA) is perhaps the most common way to access health insurance for freelance workers. The Act allows workers to access affordable policies through the health insurance marketplace. Policies can be obtained as an individual plan or for small businesses.
The enrollment period kicks off in November and will end in around mid-December, with the plan set to begin the following January. Don’t panic if you miss the open enrollment period; you may be able to qualify outside this window in some circumstances.
Domestic Partner Plan
In some cases, you may be able to access health insurance via a domestic partner. This cover is accessible provided that they are working and are covered by their employer. This can also be a cheaper option; the employer also pays in, reducing monthly premiums.
It is worth noting that you do not necessarily have to be married; unmarried partners can also qualify as a domestic partner. This loophole means you can enjoy the same benefits as your family member, provided you share a home and share a domestic life.
Another means of providing health insurance for freelance workers is Cobra coverage. This option is a perfect short-term solution if you know you are about to go it alone. In short, these plans offer an opportunity to convert a current group plan into an individual one.
It is worth noting that not all plan providers will allow you to convert and that this may be a more expensive option. You may, however, save cash as a freelancer. Be sure to do your sums and weigh up the options before you commit — saving money is the goal!
Depending on your field, professional associations may offer deals on health insurance for freelance workers. Alternatively, you may be able to join a self-employed or independent worker association, such as a freelancers union. Both of these can offer access to group plans composed of a number of self-employed workers.
The aforementioned Freelancers Union offers this option, alongside policies for life insurance or dental coverage.
Short-Term or Temporary Coverage
One of the most common options when choosing health insurance for freelance workers is a short term plan. As the name suggests, this type of cover offers health insurance on a temporary basis. It is a common option for those who miss the open enrollment period.
Short-term plans can also help you avoid hefty medical bills while you are between coverage while minimizing insurance costs.
This type of coverage will not offer extensive benefits or coverage. As a result, it should not be considered a form of long term insurance for freelancers.
Health Savings Account
While a proper health insurance plan is always advisable, some freelancers prefer to have a dedicated health savings account. As the name suggests, this is essentially a pot of money that is dedicated to covering healthcare costs.
In many ways, a savings account works in the same way as a traditional policy. You pay in regular, small amounts and access the cash in the event of an emergency. As an added bonus, you have direct access to the money, with complete control over treatment options and providers.
Workers should be aware that there are risks — you could be tempted to spend without thinking. Medical costs can also reach extremely high figures very quickly, and you could find yourself burning through savings in no time.
Why Choose Us?
Here at Voyageur U, we are dedicated to helping you embrace the freelance life — and truly thrive. From health insurance plans to getting the guts to go it alone, our site is packed with tips, tricks, and must-try techniques.
Head over and sign up now, and let us help you embrace that freelancer life — today. This is one step you definitely won’t regret taking and could transform your career.