Self-Employment Health Insurance

Self-employment health insurance options are undergoing big changes with the Affordable Care Act, especially in 2014 with the new health insurance exchange marketplace. If you haven't figured out what it means for you, you will need to now that you want to be self-employed.

Two things everyone can agree on:

  1. Do not go without coverage if you can avoid it, especially if you have a pre-existing condition. Even a catastrophic, high deductible policy is better than nothing. In 2014, you will have to have coverage so make sure you use tax credits for which you are eligible; and
  2. Be prepared for change (likely both good and bad). No one knows for sure the impacts of Affordable Care Act and when they will occur. While the current deadline for using health insurance exchanges is set for January 1, 2014, it is still unclear where states will be in their implementation.

Start with these resources:

The Federal government's Healthcare.gov's Self-Employed and Small Business articles. Remember that you can work for yourself as a "small business" with one employee if you incorporate. Try their Insurance Finder.

Your state's Department of Insurance. Although the sites differ, look for sections on "Health Reform" and health insurance for consumers and small businesses.

Freelancers Union. This organization offers health insurance and other types of insurance to the self-employed. While the health insurance is offered in New York State, there are expansion plans for other states. Enter your zip code at their home page to see what they can offer you. Also read The New York Times' 2013 profile of the Freelancers Union in "Tackling Concerns of Independent Workers."

SBA's list of online tools for finding and pricing health insurance for the self-employed and small businesses.

Finally, many organizations offer benefits for their self employed members, like the National Association for the Self-Employed and the National Association of Female Executives. Professional associations for lawyers and doctors also offer options. You will need to research and find out whether they have competitive rates. Some member rates may not be as cost effective as those offered to individuals in the open market.

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