The millennial freelancer's guide to buying health insurance
While the healthcare landscape is evolving, some wish it would change faster. Sometimes it seems like we’re stuck in the 1950s when perusing the health options available. For those who work a typical 9-5 corporate job, group health insurance is usually available. Not employed full-time with a company that will cover your health care needs? It sounds like a resounding “tough luck”. Thankfully, this is starting to change.
More workers in the U.S. are joining the “gig economy”, a workforce made up of independent contractors and freelancers and solo entrepreneurs. In fact, roughly 36% of the workforce — or over 57 million Americans — are currently freelancing, according to the Freelancers Union. Millennial freelancers account for 47%. If the trend continues, the majority of the workforce may fall into the freelancer category within the next ten years.
What’s the (health) plan? Shopping under 30
If you fall between the 26-30 age range, you have a few options when buying health insurance. What you choose will depend on your own personal circumstances and what you’re willing to invest in a health plan.
One option is to stick to catastrophic coverage only. These plans are only available if you’re under 30 years old (or if you have a hardship or affordability exemption), so you’ll eventually need to switch plans once you celebrate the big 3-0. If you qualify, these plans offer low monthly premiums with higher deductibles. You can purchase a catastrophic plan on the exchanges as a way to protect yourself from worst-case situations without breaking the bank. One thing to note about these plans: you’ll pay for most routine medical expenses out of your own pocket.
If you have the budget and want to throw down slightly more coin for a bit more coverage, a bronze plan might be right for you. Bronze plans are the next most affordable plans after catastrophic plans. They cover some routine medical expenses and have higher copays and coinsurance than silver, gold, or platinum plans. Like catastrophic plans, these are ideal plans for people who are young and healthy and may only need coverage in case of a medical emergency, illness, or injury.
What’s the (health) plan? Shopping for 30+
If you have a low income, you could be eligible for a reduced-cost medicaid plan through your state. This is one way for those with limited financial resources to have access to healthcare. Since Medicaid is based on income, you can apply or enroll at any time your circumstances meet the requirements. Each state offers its own Medicaid coverage and has its own eligibility requirements. To see if you qualify, take a look at this site.
If you’re over the age of 30 and have a steady flow of income, you may want to consider a silver plan. This can be beneficial for millennial freelancers who have a family or are thinking about starting one in the next year. Silver plans cover more medical costs than bronze or catastrophic plans and deductibles and monthly premiums are more middle-of-the-road. In general, silver plans cover roughly 70% of the costs associated with the benefits covered under the plan.
Are any plans best for freelancers?
Glad you asked! While there are plenty of plans available on the exchanges, there are only two plans that are specifically designed for freelancers by a company that understands the struggle. Decent offers two plans that cater to the needs of the self-employed population in a way that most others don’t.
Pathfinder Bronze Plan
The Pathfinder Bronze Plan was designed for young and healthy self employed people who don’t have dependents. If you’re a freelancer, artist, or solo entrepreneur that wants catastrophic coverage in case something happens but you don’t want to shell out a ton of cash, this plan is for you. Our Pathfinder plan has the bonus of free doctor’s visits all year long, so you can enjoy free check-ups whenever you need them. The other plus? We offer open enrollment all year long, too. If you want to switch to our plan and enjoy low monthly premiums, you don’t have to wait for open enrollment.
Trailblazer Silver Plan
Our Trailblazer plan was created for freelancers and solo entrepreneurs who make at least $55,000 per year. It’s an especially helpful plan for those with families or who may start a family soon. Just like the Pathfinder plan, our silver plan offers free doctor’s visits 365 days per year. You and your family can head in for important routine check-ups without having to break out your wallet. In addition to free primary care, this plan includes low or no copays for care before you’ve hit your deductible. It’s a no-brainer for millennials who want affordable, comprehensive options when buying health insurance.
If you’re a millennial freelancer struggling through the process of buying health insurance, we’ve got your back. We believe that the self-employed should have access to great coverage just like everyone else. All of our plans provide free primary care and transparent pricing on other covered services. We don’t believe in surprise bills. We do believe in awesome health coverage for you and your family. Get your free quote today.