As a freelancer, it may seem like your health insurance options have been whittled down to nothing. That’s not actually true. In fact, you may have more options for freelancer health insurance than you realize. While not every avenue to getting coverage is the same, you do have a few different choices. The important thing is to think through your specific health needs, your budget, your family situation, and other unique factors that can help you hone in on the best plan for your needs.
In this article, we’ll run through some of the best options you have for freelancer health insurance.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted in 2010 to broaden the availability of affordable health insurance via subsidies (tax credits) for households that have an income between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL). The ACA makes it easier to find freelancer health insurance, meaning you can get health coverage by shopping for a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. On the Marketplace, there are tools to help you figure out if you may qualify for premium tax credits and to help you find the best health plan for your needs. As long as you are a U.S. citizen or national living in the U.S., you should be able to find a plan that works for you.
In some cases, you may be transitioning from full-time work to a freelancer role. If this is your situation, you should know that the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) may be the answer for you. COBRA requires the former company where you had health insurance to extend your coverage for up to 18 months. This can be a great option to help you get on your feet as you begin to navigate the freelancer world. AFter 18 months, you will need to find a new freelancer health insurance through alternate means; however, it can be nice to take advantage of health insurance you’re already familiar with and to take one more thing off your plate as you make a very significant transition.
Sometimes, your best bet may be to take advantage of a family member’s health plan. If you’re a young freelancer (under the age of 26), you may be able to join your parent’s health insurance plan as a dependent. This isn’t your only option and you’ll want to discuss it with your parents, but it could be a viable choice if you’re in a pinch.
If you’re a married freelancer and your spouse is covered under an employer-sponsored health plan, you may be able to add yourself to that plan for an additional premium (or no cost). In some cases, those living together but not married may be able to gain coverage under their domestic partner’s plan. This type of coverage requires that both people are sharing a home and domestic responsibilities and not be married to anyone else.
That’s a lot of letters, we know. Finding a high-deductible insurance plan along with a health savings account could be a good route for those who are confident enough that they’ll only need health insurance for emergencies. This combination is great for those who are young and healthy and in need of freelancer health insurance.
High-deductible health insurance plans come with much lower premiums than other plans, but they also cover less. This means that you’ll pay more out of pocket for any healthcare costs that arise. This is why these plans are ideal for emergency situations but not great if you are in need of regular treatment or medication for a pre-existing or chronic condition. Another benefit of an HDHP is that you can pair it with a health savings account (HSA), which is a tax-advantaged account. With an HSA, you can set aside money to be used to cover qualified healthcare expenses. These accounts are tax-deductible, meaning they can potentially save you a ton on your tax bill, too.
Decent is a friend to freelancers in the Austin, Texas area. Given rising healthcare costs, we wanted to make it super simple for people like you to find affordable, comprehensive freelancer health insurance. Alas, let us present to you our three specially-designed-with-freelancers-in-mind plans:
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.
Here’s what’s up: direct primary care (DPC) is our jam. We believe strongly in the doctor-patient relationship, so all of our freelancer health insurance plans are built around the DPC model. This means that you play a nominal monthly fee (bundled right into your premium) that enables you to access your primary care doctor as often as you’d like...for free. Easily schedule same- or next-day appointments for either virtual or in-person visits with your primary care physician.
The good times don’t stop there. Our plans also cover a wide range of health care services and medications so you can feel confident that you’re taken care of. We know breaking out on your own is tough. We want to make finding comprehensive, affordable freelancer health insurance easy.