Money Hacks

The Freelancer’s Ultimate Guide to Health Insurance

If you are new to self-employment, the prospect of finding health insurance may seem overwhelming. If you previously had a traditional office job, signing up for health insurance was likely as easy as choosing one of the few options your employer provided.

But as a freelancer, contractor, or self-employed worker, you will no longer have an employer-provided plan. This means you need to find a health plan that not only covers your medical needs but also fits into your budget. Thankfully, there are many options for freelancers to obtain health insurance.

Here are just a few of the options for US-based workers. If you intend to travel while you work, check out our guide to health insurance for digital nomads

Family insurance

If you are married and your spouse works a traditional job, this is arguably the easiest and most affordable way to get health insurance. There’s a good chance you can easily opt-in to be covered through your spouse’s plan, in this case, you don’t need to worry about any additional insurance. If you are not currently covered by your spouse’s healthcare plan, make sure they add you on during open enrollment.  

For those who are not married and are under the age of 26, you are eligible to be added on to your parents’ insurance plan. Talk to your parents and see if they would be willing to add you to their plan. Even if they ask you to help cover the cost of the increased premium, it will still likely be cheaper than getting a plan on your own. 

Affordable Care Act 

The Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, provides a marketplace for individuals to shop for insurance. Through the government website, you can choose the plan that has the premium and deductible that fit your needs. While you’re there you can check to see if you qualify for government subsidies which will help reduce the cost of your insurance. These subsidies can be deducted from your monthly premium or returned to you at the end of the year in the form of a tax credit.

Check out this guide for more information about the Affordable Care Act and self-employment. 

Medicaid

If you are just starting to work remotely your income may be low enough to qualify for state-provided health insurance. To see if you qualify, go to your state’s Medicaid site and check the income guidelines. Depending on your income, your monthly premium will be free or require a small monthly premium.  

Professional union

Just like a traditional job, there are many professional unions that represent freelance workers. These unions can help you obtain health insurance, generate professional connections, and may even provide a 401k. Make sure you pay attention to the union dues and insurance premiums to make sure that the amount you are paying for both makes sense. 

Health Care Sharing Ministry

A health care sharing ministry is not technically health insurance. Instead, members of a group come together to share in the costs of each other’s medical care. Health care sharing ministries are generally faith-based organizations. The group does not require a monthly premium but requires members to send their monthly share directly to a member in need. When you have a medical bill you send it into the organization and other members will pay you or the provider directly. As a faith-based organization, these ministries also provide a large prayer network for their members.

Student health insurance

If you are attending school while working remotely, check with your school to see if they offer health insurance. Many universities and community colleges give students the option to enroll in health insurance through the school. If your school doesn’t provide health insurance they will likely be able to direct to resources to find affordable coverage. 

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