Setting off on the adventure of starting your own business is a life full of unknowns. One of the big worries that many entrepreneurs have, no matter what age, is how to stay covered by some kind of health insurance in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, there are no magic bullets for health coverage when self-employed.
But, there are a few options that may work for you… some of which didn't exist even a few years ago. Here are the 6 top ways to get covered.
Spouse's Coverage. If you have a partner in life, you may be able to keep health coverage through their employer. Check into family plan options and costs, and be sure to ask the employer if you must wait until an open enrollment period to add the additional coverage.
Work Part-Time. Many part-time jobs don't qualify for health insurance, but you may be able to earn just enough to pay for the premiums on an individual plan or the family costs of your spouse's employer-provided coverage.
Subsidized Individual Plans. Under the Affordable Care Act, you may be able to qualify for some help paying premiums on an individual insurance plan. To find out how much subsidy you can get, visit your state's healthcare exchange or start at www.healthcare.gov . The hard part of this process will be accurately estimating your income as a self-employed person. You may want to meet with a professional accountant to help get an idea of what you will earn.
Expanded Medicaid. If you live in one of the states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, your income during the early stages of starting your business may qualify you for free or low-cost coverage. Generally, you can start the application process through your state's healthcare exchange website.
COBRA. When you terminate your old job, you will likely receive information about the possibility of continuing coverage through that plan for up to 18 months. This is one of the easiest ways to stay covered because you're already familiar with the plan. However, it may not be affordable once the employer stops subsidizing part of your premiums.
Associations. Recognizing that many of their entrepreneurial members have the same problem finding coverage, many professional organizations and groups negotiate discounts or special access to things like insurance. Check the group's benefits listed on their website. Keep in mind that you can generally deduct such individual coverage on your Schedule C when filing taxes.
While finding health insurance is no picnic when you work on your own, it's time well invested and can help you keep your financial footing through these uncertain times.Share