Anyone who has been in the shoes of the self-employed understands that there are many pros and cons to being self-employed. A pro? You get to make your own hours. A con? Those hours are usually very, very long. A pro? You don’t have to worry about reporting to a boss. A con? There is no boss giving you a guaranteed paycheck twice a month. A pro? No pesky co-workers. A con? Sometimes you find yourself talking to yourself because of your lack of human interaction.
Many of the pros and cons of being self-employed really begin to cancel each other out. While you may have hard financial struggles when you are first starting your business out, there is no glass ceiling for the types of accomplishments you can achieve. While you don’t have a guaranteed paycheck, and there is no one helping to fund your 401k, you don’t have to worry about rush hour traffic anymore.
There are many pros and cons to working for yourself. There are also many high points, as well as many stresses, to self-employment. One of those stresses that come with self-employment is having to find your own health insurance.
Here are a few tips to finding health insurance for the self-employed:
Take a look at the details.
When you are looking for health insurance as someone that is self-employed, it’s important to look very carefully into the details. When we are self-employed sometimes we tend to look only at prices. We are having to pay all of this out of our own pockets, after all! So sometimes we just look at the prices, choose the cheapest option, and call it good. But that may not be the best way to do it.
When you’re comparing a few different plans, take a look at those details. Don’t overlook the fine print. You want to pay very close attention to all of the details of the plans. You will want to take into consideration not only the insurance plans’ premiums, but also their deductibles (how much you will have to pay towards medical expenses before your insurance starts kicking in), their exclusions (things that your insurance won’t cover), and their network providers (what doctors accept their insurance, and how much they will cover for doctors that are “out of network”).
Read through all of these things carefully and make sure to choose a plan that fits all of your needs. Sometimes a plan with a higher premium may end up saving you money in the long run. For example, a plan with a lower deductible is going to have a higher monthly premium. But how much money will you save in the long run on that plan? Or, you may have a doctor that you’ve been seeing for years. It may be worth a few extra dollars a month to choose a higher plan if you can continue to see them with that plan.
Either way, make sure you understand all of the details of each individual plan you are considering, and base your choice on all of the details, not just the monthly premium.
Compare, compare, compare
One of the benefits of getting health insurance when you’re self-employed is that you aren’t as limited in your choices. When you work for a company, you pretty much are limited to whichever insurance company your employer has chosen to work with. When you’re self-employed, although you have the added stress and expense of providing your own health insurance, at least you aren’t limited! You can choose who you want to work with.
And, since these premiums are coming 100% out of your own pocket, not only will you want to search around for the best fit, but you will also want to search around for the best deal. Visit a couple of insurance comparison sites. Use their unbiased information and opinions to help you really compare the different insurance carriers and plans against each other.
Get in with a professional group.
If you find a professional group or organization to join, you may be able to get better group rates on your health insurance. Depending on what industry you are in, there may be some professional associations specifically for your profession that you could look into joining.
If not, there are many nationwide or statewide organizations for people that are self-employed, freelancers, etc. Again, joining one of these organizations may give you the opportunity to receive group rates on your health insurance, so make sure to take a little while to research out these organizations and see if there are any that fit your needs.