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Self Employed Health Insurance Guide

Finding health insurance when you are self employed is not always an easy task. We’ve created a guide to help you navigate the world of health insurance for the self employed and find the best policies available to you. Read on to see what you need to know about self employed health insurance and how health care reform will affect self employed individuals.

Self employed individuals are in business for themselves and are usually without any other employees. Anybody from a web developer to a lawyer to a carpenter can be self employed.

Primarily health insurance is a financial protection product to help insure you against the cost of medical care. Since medical debt is the primary cause of bankruptcy in America, having self employed health insurance is vital.


Before you buy self employed health insurance

Before calling insurance companies and looking for quotes it’s a good idea to first assess your needs. Some basic questions you might want to ask yourself are:

Do I have any pre-existing conditions?

If you have a pre-existing condition you might find it more difficult to obtain a health insurance policy. This is because insurance companies may see you as a risk and decide to not sell you a policy. Beginning in 2014 insurers will be barred from this practice under the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration’s sweeping health care reform bill. For more information about how the Affordable Care Act’s effects on the self employed, read on.

Will anyone else be covered under this policy?

The number of dependents on your health insurance policy will have an impact on the price of your premium. Typically the more people covered, the higher the premium will be. Expect your monthly premium to be even higher if a dependent has a pre-existing condition.

How often do I want to/need to see the doctor?

Individuals with ongoing health conditions might consider a plan with lower deductibles to save you money. These types of plans will typically have higher monthly premiums than plans that carry higher deductibles. A high deductible health plan would be better suited for those who do not plan on seeing a doctor as regularly.

What is my financial situation?

This may be one of the most important questions to ask yourself when looking for coverage. Health insurance for self employed individuals can range anywhere from $75 per month all the way to $3000 a month depending on your needs and where you live.

There are many options available, and there are a range of factors that can influence the price you pay for insurance. So it is good to know what you are financially capable of paying ahead of time.

Do I or any of my dependents have special medical needs?

If you have any special needs such as certain prescription medications, it’s important to pay attention to the details of potential insurance plans and make sure that will cover the things you need. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions while you are shopping for a policy.

 Do I foresee any major life events?

Major life events like having a child or getting married will have an impact on your insurance plan. If you are planning for any major life event to happen in the near future it will be important to discuss it with your potential insurance company and see how it might affect your policy.

While some of these questions may seem obvious or trivial, it is important to be methodical when purchasing health insurance. By doing so you minimize the risk of being surprised by a bill or lack of coverage later.

Getting Self Employed Health Insurance Quotes

Once you’ve determine the kind of coverage you will need it’s time to begin your search. Be sure to compare quotes from multiple carriers so that you know you are getting the best price possible.

When comparing quotes it might also be useful to search for reviews of certain plans or carriers. These can be helpful when deciding between several plans that may be similar in price. They also offer a way to see what people who already have the plans think of them.

Signing up

Once you’ve chosen a plan that suits your needs and price range you’ll need to submit an application. If you’ve chosen the route of finding insurance quotes online you’ll often be able to submit your application online.

It’s important to be thorough and honest when completing your health insurance application. If there is a piece of information that you do not know it’s better to wait  and come back to it later with the correct information rather than your insurance company discovering something inaccurate later on.

There may also be a processing fee due when you submit your application. Usually it will be much lower than your actual premium and likely not be refundable if you are denied coverage.

If the process of applying for health insurance seems daunting, talk to a live agent as they will be able to answer all of your questions and concerns. They may also be able to complete the application for you if you supply the information over the phone.

After your application is submitted you will have to wait and see if you are approved for coverage. Decision times from insurance companies can take anywhere from one day up to several weeks.

Other Self Employed Health Insurance Options

Aside from purchasing insurance on your own through a private company there are also several other health insurance options available to you as a self-employed individual.

  • Spouse’s Insurance
  • Professional Groups
  • Establish a small group plan
  • Medicaid
  • Chambers of Commerce

The Affordable Care Act and Self Employed Health Insurance

These above options are effective for purchasing self employed health insurance right now and in the near future. However beginning in 2014 the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act will become law and bring with them changes in how health insurance for self-employed Americans is purchased.

For self-employed sole proprietors, the Affordable Care Act will consider them to be individuals for the sake of health insurance. This means that they will be eligible to purchase health insurance next year at their state’s health insurance marketplace.

The state marketplaces will be where uninsured individuals can shop for health insurance and compare different plans to find the one that suits their needs. For a detailed overview of the changes taking place in New York visit our guide to the New York Health Benefit Exchange.

By being considered an individual under the Affordable Care Act sole proprietors will be eligible to receive the same tax credits at the state insurance marketplaces as individuals will. To see if you will be eligible for a tax credit use one of our health care reform calculators.

Self Employed Health Insurance FAQ:

Who is considered self employed?

A person is self employed if they generate their own income directly from a consumer as opposed to being an employee of another company.

I get paid with a 1099 form, am I self employed?

Yes you would be considered self employed as an independent contractor.

I’m a self employed American citizen but I live in another country, how does this apply to me?

As an American living abroad you are exempt from the individual mandate for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

I’m self employed and living in the United States but I have dual citizenship, how do I get health insurance?

If are currently residing in the United States then you are subject to the rules and regulations of the Affordable Care Act. Meaning you will need to purchase health insurance under the individual mandate.

I’m here legally on a residency visa and self employed, how do I get health insurance?

As a legally permitted resident of the United States you are subject to the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and will be eligible to purchase health insurance through your state’s health insurance marketplace.

I’m a self employed undocumented immigrant, how do I get health insurance?

As an undocumented immigrant you are not eligible to participate in the health insurance marketplaces. However there may be options available from private insurance companies, but their scope may be limited.

I plan on purchasing insurance at my state’s health insurance marketplace in October, for coverage starting in Jan. 2014. But I need coverage until then, what are my options?

You have a range of options in this case. Complete the quote form above by entering your zip code and you will see a wide range of plans available to you.

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