Welcome to my list of health insurance options for the solopreneur. You’ll find traditional ideas as well as some more out-of-the-box ideas that you may not have seen before. I’ve tried to organize them in an intuitive manner.
Traditional Insurance Ideas
- Health insurance companies and/or brokers – probably the most traditional method of gaining health insurance is going directly to a company or a broker who can help you navigate your possibilities. A broker may be able to direct you to a low cost option but this more traditional method might carry a heavier price tag than others.
- Spousal insurance – If you are lucky enough to be married to someone who is offered insurance through their work benefits, your most convenient and economical option may be to be added to their plan. If you are not legally married, but in a relationship with a significant other, you may be surprised to find that you could also qualify. Have your partner ask through his benefits provider.
- Healthcare Marketplace – with the Affordable Care Act, many previously uninsured folks have been able to get insurance through the Healthcare Marketplace. You may be able to qualify for significant subsidies. By completing the questionnaire at www.healthcare.gov you can find out what rates you would qualify for. Remember, there is a specific window each year to sign up. (usually beginning in October or November) and you must prove that you are not offered insurance elsewhere or that you have experiences a significant life event that has prevented you from getting insurance elsewhere or caused you to lose your previous coverage.
- COBRA – If you have been previously covered by insurance and have lost that coverage, you may be eligible to continue with the same company for up to 36 months. This option can be extremely costly, however.
- Short Term Health Insurance – If you find yourself outside of an enrollment period and without a significant qualifying event you may be able to purchase a short term policy. These policies offer the bare bones minimum but, hey, better than nothing and short term.
- Health Savings Account (HSA) – putting your money into an HSA allows you to save money towards future healthcare, tax free. It will be linked to a high deductible health insurance plan. When you need medical care you may draw from this account. The money is yours and remains accruing in the account until you need it. It must be spent on medical care but will be tax free when you have done so.
Get Insured by Joining a Larger Group
As a solopreneur you may qualify to join associations through your profession which offer group insurance rates. Check to see what might be available to you. Here is a list of some that I have found:
AARP – You may qualify for reduced rates based on your age as a member of this organization. AARP Health
Affiliated Workers Association (AWA). For small business owners and entrepreneurs (855.351.7536) http://affiliatedworkersassociation.org/member-benefits/
Alliance for Affordable Health – For small businesses Alliance for Affordable Services
American Booksellers Association. (800.637.0037) www.bookweb.org
TechAmerica. (408.987.4200) www.techamerica.org/insurance-services
American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). For design professionals (800.886.7504) www.teigit.com
Artists’ Health Insurance Resource Center. (212.221.7300) www.actorsfund.org/services-and-programs/ahirc
Freelancer’s Union –Freelancers Union
Graphics Artists Guild.www.graphicartistsguild.org
Meeting Planners Unite – Meeting Planners Unite
National Association of Female Executives –National Association of Female Executives
National Association for the Self Employed – National Association for the
National Small Business United (NSBU). (NSBA: 800.345.6728 or Mutual of Omaha: 800.223.6927) http://www.mutualofomaha.com/nsba
National Writer’s Union (NWU). (212-254-0279) www.nwu.org
Painting & Decorating Contractors Association/California Council. Represents anyone with a C-33 license (800.332.7322) www.pdca.org
Printing Industries Association of Southern California (PIASC). (323.728.9500 ext. 242) www.piasc.org
Small Business Service Bureau – Small Business Service Bureau
Visual Media Alliance (800.659.3363) www.vma.bz
Western Growers Association (WGA). For growers of produce in California and Arizona (949.863.1000 or 800.333.4WGA) www.wga.com
Writers Guild of America – Writers Guild of America
More Out-of-the-Box Ideas
Health Cost Sharing/Healthcare Sharing Ministries
Health Cost Sharing is a way to join with a group of other people who all contribute money regularly into a fund from which you may later draw for health needs. It is a great option for those who do not want to participate in government or corporate plans. Rates tend to be much lower than with the Affordable Care Act. However, you must prove good health to be a member. Here are some examples of such groups:
You can also find services that will automatically list many providers with rates and deductibles online if you enter some basic information. Some of those services are:
GoHealth – Go Health
E-Health Insurance – E-Health Insurance