August 17, 2016
Due to the Affordable Care Act, all U.S. citizens need to have health insurance. If you don’t, the fee is $695, a number that plenty of freelancers can’t afford to throw around.
And, since freelancers can’t take advantage of employer-provided plans, they are the ones who need to know the most about their options. Here’s a quick rundown, using data gathered by CloudPeeps in their guide to freelancer insurance, of the main types of insurance that freelancers should know about and might be able use to stay happy, healthy, and fee-free.
1. The Freelancers Union Insurance Marketplace
The Freelancers Union offers a benefits program that allows members to find a variety of health insurance providers. The Union itself is not a provider, but if you get in during the open enrollment period—usually November to January—you’ll have a lot of options. It “offers individual health, dental, term life, liability, disability, and travel medical.”
Even if you miss the enrollment period, a specific event could let you hop in whenever: The specifics, from CloudPeeps, “life events include getting married, pregnant, losing your job with benefits, etc.”
2. State Healthcare
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) instituted state-specific plans. The issue is whether or not you can qualify for tax credits:
“[T]he average 2016 ACA plan on the federal marketplace cost $396 a month before tax credits. If you don’t qualify for any tax credits, you could owe more than $4,700 a year for premiums alone – before incurring actual medical expenses. After tax credits and subsidies, however, the average American with a federal marketplace plan is paying $106 per month.”
Some freelancers with tax credits are paying $122 or $160 a month for their freelancer plans.
3. Oscar Health
This one’s specific to a few states: Parts of New York, New Jersey, California and Texas, to be precise. There, the private health provider Oscar Health has plans for those who don’t receive employer-paid health insurance. Keep on eye on them, as they’re expanding to other states. Expect to pay around $125 a month.
4. Short-Term Health Insurance
This one is tricky. It’s not covered under the ACA, so you’ll still be facing a government fine. But it’s useful if you need insurance-provided medicine, treatment or checkups.
Slice provides plans for on-demand workers, and has raised $3.9 million in funding from Horizon Ventures and XL Innovate. As Tech.co wrote earlier this year:
“Slice offers a better insurance alternative for on-demand works, one that brings reduced risk for all parties involved, complies with all government mandated insurance requirements and has costs that go in line with the revenue of companies and workers participating in the on-demand economy.”
6. Freelancer Disability
Another easy to overlook aspect of freelancer insurance are the options available to those with disabilities: You might qualify for the government programs Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). It’s a long process, though. CloudPeeps checked in with one freelancer, Rasha, who said:
“If you can perform some work but your income falls below the Federal-established poverty threshold (in New York, it’s approx. $1,300/mon), you qualify for Medicaid via the Healthcare Marketplace at no cost to you. Yup, $0 for medical coverage.”
Once you’re covered, you should be able to get health insurance through one of these options at well under $200 a month, letting you freelance with the peace of mind that will help you focus on that work.
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