Are you ready to go out on your own but feel held back by a big looming question? Is the question how do you find health insurance when you are self-employed? Can you find health insurance as a small business owner?
Fear about finding and being able to afford family health insurance held me back from starting my own company too.
I like to say that health insurance was the big scary in my leap to working from home.
My husband was already self-employed and I carried the health insurance coverage for our family. When I had the perfect first client that I couldn’t say no to my husband and I had a serious conversation. We agreed that I would need to secure family health insurance before committing to my first client and giving my two-weeks notice.
So how do you find health insurance when you are self-employed? I was asked that question by all of our family and what felt like most of our friends. It turned out to be less scary then I expected.
How to Find Health Insurance When You are Self-Employed
There are two ways to find health insurance when you are self-employed. You can call an insurance agent or you can do the research yourself.
Each state has slightly different rules related to health insurance offerings and if you aren’t familiar with the market in your state calling an insurance agent as part of your research could be beneficial.
I had a good amount of knowledge about the insurance market in my state so I jumped right into researching options.
I asked friends who their insurance provider was and if they liked them. From that list, it became apparent that in our small city most of our friends and colleagues were insured by one of three providers.
Health Insurance Online
Following the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act a lot of health insurance information is now available online including health insurance quotes.
After making a list of who my friends and colleagues used I filled out the online forms, printed out the quotes and compared them.
They were all somewhat similar so from that short list I called the insurers that our existing doctors participated with to get a better understanding of what the quote did and did not cover.
What Coverage Do You Need?
You will need to decide what coverage you are comfortable with and what you can afford to be able to compare the different quotes and coverage.
I considered the following list. You might have additional considerations.
- How much can you budget for co-pay costs?
- What level of deductible you can manage in an emergency situation (do you have room on a backup credit card?)
- Are health insurance pre-tax deductions a part of your business tax strategy?
- Are you willing to change doctors?
- Do you have a pre-existing condition that requires re-occurring medical supplies or expensive prescriptions?
Insurance companies can’t answer those questions for you. But once you know your coverage and cost priorities I encourage you to call them so they can help you better understand which of their plans match your priorities.
Additional Health Insurance Options
There ARE other options besides traditional health insurance companies.
Some of these alternative health insurance options include membership/co-op type programs where members pool resources. All members pay in but you only draw out funds at a certain level of need.
The upfront costs can be less but coverage may be limited. And your doctor or hospital may not accept these alternative options as insurance coverage.
If participating in one of these programs is something you and your significant other are interested in be sure to research the details and your access to funds thoroughly.
Additionally, you will usually need to be prepared to pay your doctor or the hospital yourself if using these programs.
Don’t let the big scary of health insurance stop you from chasing the dream of starting your own company. Do the research – pick up the phone – and find out if there are plans that meet you and your family at a level of coverage you can afford. It’s also important to not let your coverage lap between leaving your job and finding new insurance.
We settled on an option for our family that’s slightly more of a financial stretch then we’d hoped for but the best decision for us. And with the huge reduction in my dry cleaning bill and reduction in take-out dinners, it turned out not to be much of a stretch at all.
You might also find these posts helpful