If you are self-employed, have lost a job due to termination or being laid off, or through a divorce, you are likely to be in the market for health insurance. Current estimates are that there are 45 million people in the United States who do not have health insurance. The reasons that people go without health coverage are varied however two of the most common reasons are cost and exclusion due to pre-existing conditions.
When it comes to shopping for health insurance, your best course of action is to be your own best friend rather than falling prey to the schemes and high cost policies that are very readily available on the market.
Here are some steps to take to be your own best friend when shopping for health insurance.
Get multiple quotes
Either visit the offices of insurance companies locally or use the web to compare rates, benefits and policy terms. Don’t take out any insurance plan until you review at least three plans. Consider comparison shopping with at least two to three brokers.
Know the pros and cons of each plan
A major medical plan will typically have higher rates than a short-term plan however if you develop any health problems during the time of a short-term plan then you’ll have the problem of pre-existing conditions either forcing you into higher rates or placing you in the position of not being able to buy coverage.
Check out who the broker represents
Does your broker represent only one company or does the broker sell the plans of multiple companies?
Bypass the broker and buy directly from the insurance company
You may be able to save between 3 – 10% by doing so. Contact your state commissioner’s office for insurance to learn which companies will sell directly to you.
Check for licenses
Call your Better Business Bureau to learn if complaints have been filed against the broker or company. Check with your state insurance commissioner’s office to be certain that the broker and company is licensed to operate in your state. Be sure you’re buying a legitimate policy and not a scam.
Taking charge of your health means taking charge of your health insurance. Shop with your eyes open and your hands on your wallet.
Health Insurance for the Self-Employed
The cost of health care continues to escalate and right alongside it, the cost of health insurance. Finding health insurance is one problem but then being able to afford health insurance is an entirely different challenge especially if you are self-employed and cannot obtain insurance under a group plan.
So what can you do as a self-employed person to obtain or lower the cost of health insurance? Here is some advice for self-employed health insurance.
Buy a short-term plan
While not the best solution, a short-term plan will at least give you coverage and provide what is often a more affordable premium than a long-term, comprehensive package.
Seek out your associates
Some professional associations have group coverage. The plans might not be the best or offer the widest range of coverage but it’s better than nothing and will take you through an emergency.
Shop for an affordable online quote
Make use of one of the sites which allow you to shop across several different providers at the same time in order to find the most competitive prices.
Use your health plan as a tax deduction
Self-employed individuals are eligible to use their health insurance payments as a deduction on savings. This might just give enough of a cost savings or refund to help pay another premium or two.
Start a health savings account
These new accounts will give you tax-free savings while also allowing you to put aside money for medical emergencies. With a health savings account, you might be able to take a health plan with a higher deductible and thereby reduce the cost of your premium.
It’s not an easy road to get and keep health insurance but making the effort will help you to rest easy knowing you’re prepared with coverage in the event of an accident, illness, or injury. If you don’t think you can afford health coverage, you better think twice because the pitfalls of going without health insurance come at a high price to you, your bank account and your well-being.