Are there affordable off-exchange health insurance plans?


This is a great question and one that we hear frequently from our freelancer and self-employed friends. While the exchange offers a decent amount of health plans, self-employed people who need health insurance are limited to enrolling in one of those plans only during the open enrollment window. The plans found on the exchange may not fit the needs of self-employed individuals who are looking for something a little bit more their speed.

The good news is that there are affordable off-exchange health insurance plans out just need to know how to find them! By purchasing a plan directly through the carrier or through a broker, self-employed individuals may find that they are able to find plans that best fit their needs. Another plus is that the application process for these plans tends to be a lot easier.

If you’re looking for helpful information on finding affordable off-exchange health insurance plans, we got you covered. Check out the information below to get started.

What does an “off-exchange plan” mean?

We’ve actually written an in-depth post about this here, but as a refresher, health plans may be offered on the state and federal exchanges or outside of those exchanges. The latter plans are known as off-exchange plans. In other words, if you purchase a health insurance policy through an agent or broker or directly from an insurance carrier, that is known as an off-exchange plan. These plans are not eligible for subsidies and other financial assistance programs that are available for those who purchase plans through an exchange.

It’s important to note that many plans are available both through the exchange and off the exchange. These identical or “mirrored” plans are the same in every way, but purchasing the plan through the exchange may end up being the least expensive option for those that qualify for subsidies. That said, there are affordable off-exchange health insurance plans available if you know where to look.

How do I find an off-exchange health insurance plan?

Since off-exchange plans may be available through agents, brokers, and insurance carriers, you should go directly to those people and websites to find an affordable off-exchange health insurance plan. If you are working with a health insurance broker, let them know that you’re looking for an affordable off-exchange health insurance plan. You can also visit your current insurance company (or another one, if you’re looking to switch) to get a sense for the affordable off-exchange health insurance plans they may offer.

If you are a freelancer or self-employed person, you may also want to look into plans offered through the Freelancer’s Union, which also offers affordable off-exchange options. Many off-exchange insurance plans are available outside of the open enrollment window, which also broadens the time span in which you can procure a health insurance plan.

Are there affordable off-exchange health insurance plans?

Yes! Depending on what you’re looking for, you should be able to find an affordable off-exchange health insurance plan that fits your needs. We don’t mean to toot our own horns (ok, maybe a little), but we offer three unique, affordable off-exchange health insurance plans that were designed specifically with freelancers in mind.

Pathfinder Bronze Plan — Perfect for those who want to be covered in case something bad happens. Members of this plan enjoy the lowest premiums in Austin.*

Lonestar Bronze Plan — Excellent for people who expect to use their insurance from time to time. Members of this plan geek out on the $0 medical deductible.

Trailblazer Silver Plan — Best fit for people with families, medical conditions, or prescriptions. Members of this plan brag about the manageable copays for most everything.

The best part? They all come with free primary care! We value the doctor-patient relationship, so we wanted to make primary care as accessible as possible. This means that anytime you want to see your doctor (or check-in virtually through our virtual care option), you pay $0.

All of our plans come as either Standard or Virtual plans. In other words, if you dig heading to the doctor’s office and seeing your favorite physician in person, we have a plan for you. You get unlimited office visits with your primary care doctor and 24/7 phone access with your primary care doctor. This also covers preventive care screenings and procedures and any additional procedure that happens in your primary care physician's office.

Virtual plans allow you unlimited virtual visits with the same doctor. You can get the referrals or prescriptions you need over the phone and you save about $50 per month on your monthly premiums per person.

Ready to get started? Get your free quote today!

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