Working for yourself has plenty of benefits. You get to be your own boss. You get to set your own goals, and chart a course to get there. The sky is the limit when it comes to your income potential.
One of the tough parts about being self-employed, however, is being a “jack of all trades.” You wear many hats and have plenty of responsibilities. You must be an expert in not only your designated trade or service, but also know how to handle things like taxes, payroll, business plans, scheduling, inventory … the list goes on and on.
And you also need to get your own health insurance.
Where Do I Find My Own Insurance?
After the Affordable Healthcare Act (sometimes called “Obama Care”), a national database was created to make the purchase of your own insurance possible. Minnesota is also one of the 17 states that have created its own health insurance marketplace. Found online at MSsure, self-employed residents of the state can peruse various health policies to find a fit for themselves and their families.
You can also reach out to your local insurance agent for help. Finding your own policy can be tricky, as there are MANY options. Each varies in price, coverage, co-pays, prescription costs, and more.
Depending on your age, income, or military experience, there are also federal programs you can consider. Medicare is a program for United States residents over age 65. The cost of this coverage will depend on your past tax filings.
Medicaid is for those on limited income. Various programs are available, depending on your earnings, the number of members in your household, and needs.
Those who have served in the military may also have unique access to federal programs, such as TRICARE, which serves those on active duty, reserves, guard, retirees, as well as their families. Those who are veterans can also apply for Veterans’ Affairs benefits (VA).
How Much Does Health Insurance Cost?
Unfortunately, there is no “one-size-fits-all” insurance policy. Instead, your selection of plans will be based on many factors. Cost is largely determined by the size of your family. If you are a single individual looking to only insure yourself (unmarried, divorced, or your spouse has employee-provided insurance), the cost will be much lower.
However, if you have a spouse, children, or other dependents that also must be covered under the policy, rates will be higher. For example, the average individual health insurance policy is $385 to $456 per month. A family policy, assuming you have two children, can range from $1,263 to $1,458 every month.
Another factor is age. As we age, it is no surprise that we need more medical care. The cost of health insurance policies tends to increase as we age.
What Options Do I Pick?
From deductibles to co-pays, from flexible spending accounts (FSA) to Plans A, B, C, and D, the world of health insurance can be a confusing space. Some terms are tough to understand, not to mention a huge variety of coverages.
On the one hand, you don’t want to be stuck with high monthly premiums and seldom-used insurance. But, on the other hand, you don’t want to have low-cost monthly bills and skyrocketing hospital bills for the simplest of visits. It can be tough to know what “fits” your needs.
What If I Need Help?
My best advice is to seek the guidance of a professional. When you work at a major corporation, you typically have an insurance advisor, human resources officer, or similar fellow employee who can walk you through the ropes. When you are self-employed, you aren’t completely alone. You do have the option to seek help. Reach out to my offices today, and we can make a great referral!