Are you an artist, writer, graphic designer, consultant, or another freelancer on the move?
Do you work for yourself and don’t know how to get a health care card?
Have you been looking into health insurance but are overwhelmed by the process?
Buying health insurance as a freelancing nomad can be a frustrating experience. From not knowing what options are available to having to pull together appropriate documents, there’s just extra work involved that makes it less than seamless.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through figuring out if you qualify for a health care card, how to get a health care card, and how to use the health insurance market place to buy health insurance as a freelance traveler.
Do Freelancers Qualify for a Health Care Card?
The good news is that the Affordable Care Act made buying less cost-prohibitive health insurance a possibility for freelancers and self-employed individuals. With a few simple steps and some diligent research and comparison, freelancers can have a comprehensive healthcare policy
One of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act is that it eliminates the restrictions that many insurance providers had in place regarding pre-existing conditions. Now, you don’t have to worry about rising premiums and exclusions with your health insurance coverage.
In general, the only thing you’ll need to qualify for is the premium tax credits, which you’ll learn more about later.
Working for yourself has its advantages and disadvantages. Don’t let finding health insurance be a burden. This comprehensive guide to freelance health care cards will help you get started.
Comprehensive Guide to Freelance Health Care Cards
As a freelancer, you have the same options for healthcare that other Americans have through the market place. This is what you need to know about getting freelance health care cards:
1. Apply Through the Health Care Market Place.
The first thing you want to do when trying to get a health care card is to apply through the health care market place. If you’ve never applied before, you’ll provide personal information, employment information, and household information.
If you’ve applied through the market place in the past, your information may still be on file. Update the information that is no longer relevant, then continue with the application process.
2. Provide Required Self-Employment Documents.
Once you fill out your application with the health care market place, you’ll find out if you need to submit any documents. Some of those documents may be related to your citizenship status or dependent status or relationships, and possibly your income.
The health care market place requires your estimated net income for the year you’re getting coverage. Do not provide last year’s income.
3. Use Premium Tax Credits to Offset Monthly Costs.
After you’ve filled out your health care market place application and submitted all appropriate documentation, you’ll find out if you qualify for premium tax credits. You can use those tax credits to help offset your monthly premium costs.
Freelancers may qualify for premium tax credits if their income is between $12,140 and $48,560 for an individual or $20.780 to $83,120 for a family of three.
4. Compare Health Care Market Place Plans.
Now that you have your application ready to go and know if you qualify for premium tax credits, you can compare health insurance plans in the market place. There are four categories of plans: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.
Bronze plans are those with the lowest premiums and out-of-pocket costs that are the highest. Platinum plans, on the other end of the spectrum, are those with the highest premiums but the lowest out-of-pocket costs.
5. Choose a Plan and Make the First Monthly Premium.
It’s a good idea to take your time comparing health insurance plans, but once you have decided on a plan that works for you and your family, you’ll simply choose the plan through the Healthcare.gov portal and make the first monthly premium.
If you have premium tax credits, your tax credits will be applied automatically (if that’s what you selected) so you’ll get a discount on the plan you choose.
Health Care Market Place Plans for Freelance Nomads
For freelancers and digital nomads, healthcare on the road can be a challenge. Depending on the type of health insurance plan selected, you could be responsible for a lot of out-of-pocket costs.
There are ten essential health benefits that all health insurance market place plans cover, so if you’re traveling in the states, you should have basic coverage.
Some of the key essential health benefits plus other required covered services for freelance nomads include:
- Birth control coverage
- Breastfeeding coverage
- Emergency services
- Laboratory services
- Mental health and substance abuse disorder services
- Pediatric services, including oral and vision
- Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
- Prescription drugs
- Preventive and wellness services
Notice that this doesn’t extend to things like doctor’s visits and urgent care clinics. If you’re traveling and need to see a doctor, you may be responsible for paying out of pocket for the doctor visit, but still have coverage for any prescriptions that are filled or labs that need to be run.
How to Buy Health Insurance as a Freelancer
Once you get started with a health care market place application and go through the process, you’ll find that buying health insurance as a freelancer isn’t that complicated. The trick to finding out how to get a health care card is to remember these simple tips:
- Use your estimated net income to see if you qualify for premium tax credits – they will help offset your monthly premium costs.
- Explore coverage options within each plan to see where services are extended – keep in mind the places you travel to frequently.
- Purchase travel insurance if you’re going to be headed overseas – this is the best way to ensure some basic level of coverage when you’re outside of the United States.
Follow this comprehensive guide and spend some extra time comparing options within the available plans. You may be able to see what doctors are available in different areas, which can help make the decision for those that travel often.
Need help figuring out how to get a health care card as a freelancer? Fiorella Insurance Agency can connect you with the best health insurance policy for your travel situation.