Many employees may find it easier to get affordable health insurance quotes through the company they work for. It’s easy and very convenient, and it’s one of the perks that companies dangle to attract top talent. However, it’s not quite the same if you’re self-employed. You may have to pay for your own insurance and that’s often more expensive when you don’t have an employer to pay a large chunk of the cost.
Still, there are ways for you to consider so that you can get more affordable insurance.
- Get in on your spouse’s employment health insurance plan. Some companies offer workers family insurance, so as the spouse you may get your insurance this way. Of course your spouse may have to pay a higher premium with you on board, but you can get the same level of coverage as other plans while you pay less in premiums.
- If you’re self-employed because you’re retiring, check if there’s a special plan for retirees. Some companies offer this perk for retirees, though unfortunately it’s no longer very common. In 1988 about two-thirds of large companies offered this, but by 2011 that figure went down to 25%. Among smaller firms (less than 200 workers), this is offered by only 6% of all small private companies.
You’re lucky if the company subsidizes a fraction of the premiums as a way to add to your retirement benefits. Lots of times the retirees pay for a bit more in premiums compared to regular workers. A survey among more than 550 of the largest US companies revealed current employees were paying $432 per month for an individual policy, and $1,200 for a family. The retirees were paying an average of $633 for monthly premiums.
- Delay your retirement. Becoming a full-time retiree may not be advantageous for you in terms of premium payments. But perhaps you can semi-retire and work part time instead. Your earnings can help you pay for your insurance, and even working as little as 20 hours a week may be enough to qualify you for group health benefits with some companies.
- Be a member of a professional association. Trade and professional groups may offer health insurance with more affordable group coverage rates than if you buy your own health insurance by yourself. These groups can be a bar or industry association, a group of alumni, or a church group.
You may be surprised at how some industry associations unexpectedly exist. There’s actually a Freelancers Union based in New York State, which offers health insurance via the Freelancers Insurance Company. They have about 25,000 freelancing workers and they’re all covered as well as their family members. It’s said that the premiums they pay are only a third of what other health insurance plans cost.
- You can establish your own small business group plan. Just because you’re self-employed doesn’t mean you can’t have people working for you. You can have a single employee who’s a close family member, like a sibling or a spouse and that may be enough for you to qualify to buy a small group insurance plan. In some parts of the country, health insurance companies may even be compelled to issue group health plans to small groups. This is great if you have a preexisting medical condition because that won’t be enough to allow insurance companies to deny you coverage.
- You may qualify for PCIP. This refers to a preexisting condition insurance plan, and every state is required to have one. This can help if you have a preexisting medical condition and have been denied coverage, and you have been uninsured for 6 months.
If you’re still not sure, get some advice from a qualified insurance broker. They can find the lowest quotes for the coverage you seek, and they may be able to steer you through options you didn’t even know existed.