One of the biggest benefits to working for a corporate company is the benefits themselves. A 2016 study on the state of freelancing in America showed that of aspiring freelancers, 37% were hesitant to leave their primary jobs because of the desire to keep company sponsored benefits like health + life insurance and paid vacation.
So once you decide to go full-time freelance, how do you go about finding affordable health care?
You have a few options:
This is probably the first option that comes to mind. You can shop for plans in your state through HealthCare.gov. Depending on your income, you may qualify for lower monthly premiums and other savings. You can check that here.
Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWA)
This is when multiple employers or small business owners pool their contributions for a self-funded benefits plan. Eric O’Brien of Mosaic Employee Benefits tells us, “You should consider an MEWA if you are healthy, because the risk scale is favorable to your monthly premium cost. The coverage also tends to be stronger and includes a broad network that travels with you across state lines.” Do some research to see if any professional associations you’re a part of (or can join) have their own medical trusts that you can join. Good starting places: AIG (American Institute of Graphic Arts) or PPA (Professional Photographers of America).
Healthcare Sharing Ministries
If you are of the Christian faith, you can join a medical cost sharing program like Liberty HealthShare or ChristianCare Ministry. It’s not the same thing as insurance, but rather it’s more like a co-op in which members agree what will be covered and then contribute monthly dues to cover medical costs for the group. These nonprofit groups are exempt from ACA requirements.
Health Savings Account (HSA)
Some health insurance plans allow you to qualify for a Health Savings Account, in which you stash away tax-deductible contributions for current and future health expenses. Once you reach your calendar-year deductible, health insurance will pay your remaining covered expenses, and the money that remains in your HSA will stay in your account and earn tax-free interest for years to come.
Freelancers Union has hand picked plans for freelancers in states across the country to suit your needs and budget. They even have a quiz to help you determine where you should start. Chances are some of the plans offered will fall under some of the aforementioned categories, so it’s worth taking a look at what is available to you.
Creative Community Developer at Snapfluence.
I'm the Oxford comma's biggest fan.