When you work a 9-to-5 or any traditional job, you are most likely given the opportunity to join the company’s health insurance options. Even if they aren’t the best options, you still get a choice to decide what works best for you and your family. But how do you get quality insurance when you’re self-employed? Here’s how I, and many other freelancers and business owners, manage!
How to Manage Insurance When You’re Self-Employed
This post has been written by our staff writer, Kimberly Studdard.
One of the most important insurances when you’re self-employed is health insurance. There are many more health insurance options available now than there used to be for those who are self-employed. However, it is still incredibly important to choose the best option for you.
What Will Your Income Be?
When looking into your options, it’s important to first determine what your possible income range will be. Do you plan on bringing in $30k or less? Do you have plans to earn 6-figures or more? Asking yourself these questions, and being realistic, can help you choose the best route for your health insurance needs.
For example, the less you earn in your business, the more chances you have of qualifying for the health marketplace subsidies that will lower your costs overall. However, the more money you make, the more you may pay in premiums and deductibles.
If You’re Single
If you’re single, first you need to decide what you can afford and what you need out of your health insurance.
- Do you have any chronic conditions?
- Are you in need of lower premiums or deductibles?
- Do you visit the doctor often?
By asking yourself these questions, you can then choose the right option for your healthcare insurance. Again, there are many options, but here are a few that I’ve found to be most useful.
Policy Genius is more of a hub than a health insurance option. Based on the information you fill out (the questionnaire takes less than 30 minutes to complete), you’ll receive health insurance options that will best fit you and your budget. You can then choose the option that works best for you and get started right away.
Just like Policy Genius, eHealth Insurance is a marketplace of sorts. Again, you’ll put in your information, and then you can compare the best health insurance options in your area. From there, you can select and purchase your health insurance right from the marketplace.
If you’re looking for healthcare during open enrollment (from November to December for the next year), you can use the Healthcare marketplace. This may be one of the better options if you will need financial assistance or subsidies to help you pay for insurance. Be sure to read all of the fine print and documents relating to whatever health insurance option you choose.
If You Have a Family
If you have a family, the options above are still viable for you. However, you’ll have to choose what works best for the entire family instead of just yourself. For example, a family will cost more, so it may be better for you to go with a health share vs. traditional insurance.
If you have smaller children, or children prone to illness and accidents, remember to choose a health insurance option that will allow you the flexibility and savings that you need to support them.
Also, if you have a family and qualify for this program, I recommend opening an HSA (or health savings account). Not only can you save money in this account tax-free (and without penalty), but it can help you save money in the long run, especially if the whole family is under your insurance plan.
The last option for your family coverage may be to allow your significant other or spouse to carry themselves and the kids on their plan. This is a great option if your significant other works for a traditional employer, like the government or a bank. However, make sure you compare prices and plans for both you and through your significant other. Who knows, your option may be the better plan!
Dental and Vision Insurance Options
Another need for insurance when you’re self-employed is dental and vision.
As with your yearly doctor’s visit, regular dental and vision care are important. Just like finding regular health insurance, you can use the eHealth insurance marketplace to find a vision and dental plan that works best for you. When I entered in the information for myself and my family, I was quoted dental and vision insurance for less than $75/month.
Another option would be to skip dental and vision insurance and self-pay. I really only recommend this option if you don’t have kids and if your eyes and teeth are in good or great condition. There are many places that offer vision exams for a reduced price, like Target, Walmart, and America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses. You’ll still get the same care, but for less.
Also, if you’re lucky enough to live near a dental school, you can cut costs on dental exams, x-rays, and even more complicated procedures like root canals. For example, my family lives in the Kansas City area, and we went to a state college that had a dental program. The student doctors did everything under supervision, including our cleanings and X-rays, so we didn’t feel nervous about them working on our teeth.
The plus side? The cost was less than half of standard dental costs. My total bill (for all three of us, including my daughter) was less than $250 for our exams, X-rays, and cleanings! For reference, my regular dentist charges around $200 per person for the same type of visit.
Why would you need disability insurance when you’re self-employed? Well, you never know what may happen to you. While we all hope for the best outcome in our lives, sometimes things just happen.
If you’re hurt or become seriously ill, it limits and hinders your ability to earn money and keep your business running. That’s where disability insurance comes in. Disability insurance helps keep you afloat financially until you’re able to do so yourself.
With disability insurance, your options are a bit limited, but not impossible to find. While this article will give you more insight on disability insurance (and how to choose it), your best option would be to reach out to an independent insurance agent for the best insurance choice for you.
Last but not least, let’s talk about life insurance when you’re self-employed. Again, a site like Policy Genius may be the best place for you to start, so you can compare plans and decide the route you want to take. But overall, choosing a term life insurance plan is the best choice.
No matter how young you are or who depends on you, you NEED life insurance, especially when you’re self-employed! It can help your family keep your business afloat (if needed) and cover costs for bills you may leave behind. Don’t neglect them because you think you’re invincible. Term life insurance can be affordable, no matter your age, employment status, and health. Take advantage of it.
Overall, it’s a lot easier to secure insurance when you’re self-employed these days. You just have to know where to look! You can mix and match options to fit you and your family best, and even cut costs if needed (like going to a dental school for instance ;)).
Starting and running a business is hard, but insuring yourself doesn’t have to be.
Feeling better about managing insurance when you’re self employed? You should! Now go out there and kill it in your business!
AUTHOR Kimberly Studdard
Kim Studdard is a project manager for online entrepreneurs and small businesses. When she isn't spending time with her daughter and husband, or reading her growing pile of horror books, you'll find her working on her HR degree and working towards FIRE.