Are you self-employed and want to know how to buy health insurance?
Do you operate an LLC and need to purchase health insurance for you and your team?
Have you been freelancing and want to know more about your health coverage options?
Operating a small business, whether it’s an LLC or a sole proprietorship, comes with its fair share of difficulties. Choosing health insurance doesn’t have to be one of them.
The health insurance market place offers several different options for obtaining health insurance if you’re self-employed.
This blog covers the various ways your business can get health insurance coverage, how to choose the right path for your business entity, and how to buy if you are self-employed or freelancing.
Comprehensive Healthcare Coverage for Self-Employed Individuals
The Affordable Care Act was designed to give Americans access to health insurance that is affordable and comprehensive. This includes giving access to self-employed individuals, freelancers, contractors, and owners of small businesses.
The first thing you’ll want to determine as a self-employed individual is whether you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period or if you need to wait for open enrollment to qualify for health insurance. You’ll be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period if you lose your health insurance or have an eligible change in life, such as gaining a new dependent or moving to a new state.
Open enrollment for 2020 is from November 1, 2019, to December 15, 2019. In some cases, you may only qualify to purchase health insurance if you apply and choose a plan during the open enrollment period. An insurance broker or agent can help you determine whether you can apply for coverage now or if you need to wait for open enrollment.
The next thing you’ll want to determine is whether you need coverage for yourself or yourself and employees. There are some differences in the path you’ll take in the market place, so pay attention to the options for choosing health insurance as a self-employed individual or small business owner.
Choosing Healthcare for Small Businesses and Self-Employed Individuals
There are different choices in health coverage depending on whether you are self-employed, or you own a business with employees.
1. Health Insurance Options for Sole Proprietorships
If you operate a sole proprietorship and do not pay any employees, you can apply for individual or family health insurance coverage through the market place. You’ll provide income differently than if you were applying for coverage as someone who isn’t self-employed.
After providing your estimated net income – not last year’s income – for the year you’re getting coverage, you’ll find out if you qualify for any premium tax credits that may reduce your health insurance costs.
2. Health Insurance Options for Freelancers and Contractors
Like with sole proprietorships, applying for health insurance through the market place is simple for freelancers, independent consultants, and contractors. Provide your estimated net income and choose a plan that works best for you.
Have you recently become a freelancer or independent contractor? If you lost health insurance coverage, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Otherwise, you’ll be eligible to apply for coverage during the 2020 open enrollment period.
3. Health Insurance Options for an LLC
Choosing health insurance plans if you have one or more employees is a little bit different than choosing health insurance plans as a self-employed individual or freelancer. The Small Business Health Options Program, also known as SHOP, gives small businesses an opportunity to offer health insurance.
Your small business may qualify for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, so using the health insurance market place gives employers the flexibility to offer better plans at discounted rates. There is no open enrollment period with SHOP – your business can apply at any time.
How to Buy Health Insurance if You Are Self-Employed
Now that you’ve determined whether you need to apply through the health insurance market place or the Small Business Health Options Program, it’s time to figure out how to buy if you are self-employed.
Fortunately, the health insurance market place makes it simple to buy health insurance if you are self-employed or own a small business.
Here is a quick overview of what you’ll need to do to get health insurance coverage as a self-employed individual or freelancer:
- Apply through the health insurance market place: Whether you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period or have to wait until open enrollment, you’ll still need to fill out an application through the health insurance market place. Some information may be stored if you’ve applied before.
- Compare coverage limits and plan options: After you’ve applied and know if you’ll receive premium tax credits, you’ll want to compare plans. Think about premiums, deductibles, copayments, and out-of-pocket expenses you (or your employees) will need to pay.
- Choose a plan during the open enrollment period: Once you’ve compared plans and know which option works best for you and your family, choose your plan before the open enrollment deadline and make the first monthly premium payment. Your coverage will begin on January 1st!
If you are a small business owner and using SHOP to get coverage for you and your employees, you’ll be able to offer them options to choose from if you want. You’ll also be able to pay part of the premiums for your employees through SHOP.
Using an Insurance Agent or Broker as a Self-Employed Individual
One of the great things about the health insurance market place is that you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Regardless of whether you’re applying as a self-employed individual or a small business owner, you can use a registered insurance agent or broker to apply for health coverage.
This means you’ll have someone dedicated to helping you fill out your application, compare plans and coverage options, and choose the health insurance that works for your situation.
Do you need help figuring out how to buy health insurance if you are self-employed? Contact Fiorella Insurance Agency to get the most comprehensive information about your health insurance options.