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You may have the luxury of qualifying for convenient and lower-cost health insurance through your employer, but if not, you need to look for an individual or family plan. Those are your two major options, but when you are self-employed, finding the best individual/family plan can be a challenge (so don't hesitate to reach out to an experienced health insurance agent!)
Here is some help in sorting through the possibilities in finding your best health plan when you're self-employed:
Start Looking at Your State's Marketplace
If you qualify for a significant government subsidy, then it makes sense to choose a marketplace plan. Qualification for subsidies is based on income level and family size, and it's all tied in with your taxes.
Additionally, you have to apply during the open enrollment period, which is usually in November and December. In some states, open enrollment may last longer. And if you have a "life event" like a marriage or a child being born or adopted, you can qualify for a special enrollment period.
You'll need to calculate last year's medical expenses and estimate what you'll spend in the year ahead to make a wise choice among low, no, and high deductible plans. On the marketplace, you will also need to choose a "metal" level: bronze, silver, gold, or platinum. These pay 60%, 70%, 80%, and 90% of covered medical bills after you meet your deductible.
Next Consider a Non-marketplace Plan
It's really no secret. Right or wrong, those who are self-employed tend to pay higher taxes. That, and the possibility of your having higher income due to a successfully run business, could mean you won't qualify for much (or any) government subsidies.
But there's no need to panic. There are still other viable options. First of all, talk to an insurance agent or broker who can help you find affordable, quality health plans for individuals and families outside of the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Explore ALL of Your Options
Be sure to organize your health insurance strategy in a way that saves you the most money. For example, if you are 65 or older, you can get cheaper insurance through Medicare - and if you feel that Medicare leaves some gaps, just add a "Medigap" plan to fill them.
Children can generally qualify for free or highly discounted health plans via Medicaid. These plans and their specific qualification requirements vary from state to state, but most kids will qualify. And it's much cheaper than adding children onto your regular health plan.
Also, consider buying accident insurance, dental coverage, and vision coverage separately. These things are not always adequately covered in primary health insurance and can help pay for ambulance trips, fillings, new contacts, and more.
Finally, if you are caught without health coverage after open enrollment is over and can't qualify for special enrollment, consider at least getting a short-term (non-ACA compliant) plan for the interim. It's much better than having no insurance at all, and even if it covers less - it costs less too.
Searching for a new health insurance policy for yourself and your whole family when you are self-employed is not always easy. But there are many good options available. It's just a matter of exploring each one and discovering what approach will provide the best benefits at the lowest possible cost.
To discuss your healthcare and insurance needs with an experienced agent who understands the challenges faced by the self-employed in this regard, contact Summerlin Benefits Consulting today!