I have been a freelance writer for over a decade now. And I can tell you from experience that if it wasn’t for the Affordable Care Act, I couldn’t have afforded to get medical care when I developed skin cancer a decade ago.
I used to work in academia, and I took for granted the convenience of having employment-sponsored health insurance.
There were about 57 million freelancers in the United States in 2019.
Before the pandemic, it had been a while since I had seen a doctor. Now, who is in a hurry to go to the doctor?
However, that is a negative attitude to have, because freelancers have essentially the same troubles getting health insurance as do the unemployed.
Quality health insurance is basically unattainable for freelancers. Employers don’t co-sponsor the costs since freelancers are self-employed.
And health insurance premiums are as prohibitively expensive for freelancers as they are for the unemployed.
If you are self-employed, here are some options for you to consider.
Through the Affordable Care Act, you may qualify for government-subsidized, low-cost, and sometimes free health insurance via your state’s exchanges. You could qualify for CHIP, Medicare, and other forms of government-sponsored health insurance.
However, you can only qualify for most low-cost medical check-ups and procedures with ACA enabled coverage.
You must financially qualify for ACA health insurance. So, if you make more money than your state’s qualification guidelines, you will have to pay out-of-pocket.
Also, there are specific times of the year when you can enroll, so pay attention to enrollment dates.
Short-term Health Insurance Plans
You can apply for short-term health insurance plans any time of the year without worrying about missing mandatory enrollment periods.
Short-term health insurance plans are also a lot more affordable than government-sponsored or employer-sponsored health insurance plans too.
The average short-term health insurance policy is about 60% cheaper than government or employer-sponsored plans. You could pay as little as $55 monthly for some short-term health insurance plans if you qualify.
Ehealth Insurance is a great directory website for over 3,600 short-term health insurance plans offered by 16 carrier firms.
However, short-term health insurance plans do have some drawbacks. For one thing, coverage isn’t viable for longer than a year.
Even if you do qualify, your short-term health insurance plan may not cover personal medical needs.
Additionally, short-term health insurance plans are notoriously restrictive. You may not qualify for some plans if you are:
- Morbidly obese
- Are eligible for Medicaid or other government-sponsored programs
- Are not a U.S. citizen
- Have HIV or AIDS
And that is just a sampling of some of the disqualifying metrics for short-term health insurance programs. Each plan will have its own guidelines for applicant disqualification.
Research Your Options
You could qualify for health insurance through your spouse’s employer-sponsored plan. Or you can start a bank account dedicated to future medical purposes.
There may not be a lot of attractive options for you as a freelancer looking for health insurance. Still, there are many options you could consider.