Insurance for Freelancers: A Self-Employment Guide to Healthcare

Written by: Vanessa Jerusalimiec (*Amsive Digital)  |  Reviewed by: Shelley Wyant  |  *MHP partners with Amsive Digital on news content

Insurance for Freelancers: A Self-Employment Guide to Healthcare

Freelancers, consultants, and independent contractors enjoy a lot of flexibility. But if you’re self-employed, you won’t have employer-sponsored health insurance. Medical insurance for self-employed people is essential if you work for yourself. You may opt for basic health care and emergency coverage, or find a plan that includes added services like dental and vision care.

The Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, makes it easy to get affordable healthcare. Health insurance is now available to more people, including freelancers. The law also provides premium tax credits that lower your monthly premiums, so you’ll be able to enroll in a healthcare plan that matches your needs and budget.

Obamacare also created the health insurance marketplace, where you can search for health insurance plans, compare cost and coverage options, and find out if you qualify for premium tax credits.

Freelancer Health Insurance vs. Group Insurance

Job-based health insurance is often called group coverage. Employer-sponsored coverage may pay for some or all of your monthly premiums, lowering your healthcare costs. Your employer can answer questions about your plan and provide your plan documents that list your cost and coverage options.

Freelancer health insurance, or individual insurance, works a bit differently. You will need to choose a plan for you and your family, purchase your own plan, and communicate directly with your plan provider. You’ll also pay all your monthly premiums, and manage all your benefits and costs.

Health Care Options for Freelancers

If you don’t have employer-sponsored health insurance, don’t worry. You have several options for affordable healthcare coverage.

Stay On Your Parent’s Plan

If you’ve just joined the workforce, you can stay on your parent's health insurance plan until you turn 26. You can stay on your parent's plan even if you live outside of your parent’s home, graduate from university, get married, or have a child. When you turn 26, you will need to find other coverage.

Join Your Spouse’s Health Plan

If your spouse has employer-sponsored health insurance, you may be able to join their health plan. Employer health plans often cover spouses and dependents. Before joining the plan, take a close look at the costs. In many cases, joining your spouse’s health insurance plan can significantly raise the monthly premiums. Enrolling in your own plan may be a more affordable option.

Enroll in an Individual Health Insurance Plan

Many self-employed adults enroll in an individual health insurance plan. These plans include all the essential health benefits, such as hospital and medical care. You can also select a plan with added benefits such as dental and vision coverage.

Enroll in Medicaid

Freelancers with a lower income may qualify for Medicaid coverage. If you’re eligible for Medicaid coverage, you’ll get healthcare benefits at a lower cost. In Michigan, you may be eligible for the Healthy Michigan Plan if your income is below 133% of the federal poverty level or less than $16,000.

How Much is Health Insurance for Self-Employed Adults?

Cost and coverage options will vary widely between plans. Other factors like where you live, your family size, and your income will also impact the cost. Even lifestyle factors like tobacco use can affect the price of your health insurance plan. Finally, the type of plan you choose will make a big difference in your overall healthcare costs.

When to Enroll in an Individual Health Insurance Plan

The best time to enroll in an individual or family health insurance plan is during the Open Enrollment Period. This annual period starts on November 1 and ends on January 15. If you recently became a freelancer and lost employer-based coverage, you’ll also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Other qualifying life events, such as moving, getting married, or having a baby can also trigger a Special Enrollment Period.

How to Find a Healthcare Plan

A great way to compare plans is through the health insurance marketplace. Enter your zip code to get started, then provide information about your household, including your family size and income. You can compare all the plans in your area and see cost and coverage options.

You can also enroll in a health insurance plan with an approved enrollment partner. McLaren Health Plan offers comprehensive and affordable health insurance plans for freelancers. Contact us today to find out more about your cost and coverage options.