Healthcare, Smart Spending

How to Find Affordable Health Care: Part I

This two-part article first offers suggestions for the self-employed to find affordable health care insurance. The second part is made up of tips for keeping health care costs as low as possible and is directed at those with no insurance or only “catastrophic” health care insurance.

One of the reasons that I was able to transition into writing full-time is that my spouse had health insurance that was affordable for me. As an independent contractor, I am self-employed, and like other freelancers could not afford health insurance on my own. This is especially true, at least for me, when I first made the leap from tinkering as a freelance writer to becoming one on a full-time basis.

Although I qualified for COBRA insurance, it was far too expensive and only a temporary solution. A year ago, I was able to enroll in Medicare and I also have a supplemental— so, I don’t have any health insurance issues.

Soon I will have completed my first year on Medicare and I got to thinking: how do other self-employed people deal with the challenges facing them concerning the overall cost of health care? I have exchanged emails and asked questions on forums about this topic. I plan to share them with you now with the warning that I have touched on some of these topics in earlier posts. If you, like the rest of the world are younger than I am, I hope you find the information helpful.

Get Group Insurance Rates

Many of the self-employed people recommended that you could join an organizationn or association that will give you the opportunity to purchase group insurance. I don’t know enough about these organizations to endorse them, but two names that folks mentioned often were the National Association of the Self-Employed and Freelancer’s Union.

Look for Health Insurance with an Insurance Broker

A small number of self-employed that I exchanged emails with or spoke to in the forums suggested that using an independent insurance agent to help you find an affordable plan makes sense. You do not pay anything more to use a broker, the insurance company she/he places you with for health insurance pays the commission. Independent brokers are not affiliated with only one company but have access to every insurance company that sells health insurance in your state. If there is a plan out there that fits your needs they can find it.

Get a High-deductible Health Insurance Policy

These types of policies are also known as catastrophic health insurance. They take over after you have paid your deductible – usually $5,000. The premiums are lower than with standard major medical insurance and are designed to keep you from going bankrupt. Use an independent agent to help you find the best for your needs.

Tomorrow I will share with you some secrets to keep your health care expenses as low as possible none involve moving to a country that has single payer!