Getting proper healthcare can be a big expense for self-employed business owners. It’s often much more expensive and difficult to get insurance if you’re not going through an employer. The whole process can seem quite complex as well.
Here’s an in-depth look at some of your best options.
==> Your Wife or Husband’s Insurance Plan
If you’re married, your best option is probably your spouse’s plan. It’s much cheaper than any other option you’ll find on your own.
There are usually specific times of the year when you can add family members to a health plan. Have your spouse ask their employer when that time is and see if you can get the whole family on that plan.
==> Look for Membership and Group Buying Plans
The reason employers get such a good deal on plans is because they can buy in bulk and drive the price down. This doesn’t have to be limited to employers, however.
If you can find a membership association for whatever it is you’re working on, you’ll have a very good chance of being able to get cheaper health insurance.
Don’t think that just because you’re doing something generic or exotic, you can’t find a membership group. Groups as generic as the “National Business Association of America” can help you get better deals on health insurance.
==> Are You Eligible for COBRA?
The COBRA act allows you to stay on your previous healthcare plan for 18 months. If your past employer provided you with healthcare, there’s a very good chance that you’ll qualify for COBRA.
There are both upsides and downsides to COBRA. On the one hand, you get to pay exactly what your employer paid for your healthcare. The downside is that you can’t change the plan.
Your healthcare might have been extremely cheap when your employer was paying for part of it, but when you’re paying for the whole thing it might actually be more coverage than you want.
That said, if you’re eligible you should still look into the COBRA plan to see if it makes sense for you.
==> Consumer Driven Health Plans
Traditionally, employer driven health plans have a higher monthly payment and a lower deductible. Consumer Driven Health Plans (CDHPs) are the opposite; they have a relatively low monthly payment with much higher deductibles.
This places the responsibility of staying healthy on the consumer. This allows you to have coverage in case something happens, but keep your monthly payments down as well. For a start-up self-employed business, this could be the perfect way to keep costs down.
==> Exploring Other Options
Finally, you have the myriad of other full or near full priced options out there.
If you’re doing your homework on these options, make sure you carefully read exactly what’s covered and what’s not.
Make sure you get clear on whether the deductibles are per person or per family. A $1,000 deductible could easily turn into $3,000 if you have a spouse and child.
Figuring out the right healthcare option can be quite tricky. Being self-employed, the options are often more expensive. That said, there are many ways you can reduce the cost of healthcare. With a little bit of homework and a little bit of perseverance, you’ll be able to find the perfect balance between coverage and cost.