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Affordable Health Insurance for the Self Employed

By Compuquotes Team on March 27th, 2008
Health Insurance

Approximately 14 million people are self employed in the United States and most of them have chosen that path for the flexibility and the freedom of working for themselves. One of the disadvantages of being self employed is trying to find affordable health insurance - many people are actually reluctant to be self employed for this reason. Of the estimated 40 million Americans without health insurance, most of them are self employed or work at small companies.

One easy and affordable option is to take out health insurance through your spouse if you are self employed and married. It generally costs a little more to add yourself on to your spouse's health insurance and you may also have to wait to do this - most companies offer benefits enrollment in the fall for the following year. And you can also add your children to your spouse's health insurance as well.

Consider taking advantage of what is commonly known as COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) health coverage. If you have left, or are considering leaving your current job, the law allows you to continue receiving employer provided health coverage for a certain amount of time. COBRA coverage is only temporary - but it can be an effective way to provide health insurance for yourself when starting up a new business.

If you are trying to obtain health insurance as a self employed person, it's particularly important to shop around and compare not only the costs and coverage, but the benefit amounts, co-payment and deductible amounts. There are several websites that allow you to easily compare products and services from different companies.

If you have money saved up and are better able to cover unexpected expenses, you may want to consider a plan with lower premiums and higher deductibles. A short term health insurance plan may also offer lower premiums and better rates than a long term plan. Don't pay more for health insurance that includes coverage you won't need, such as maternity coverage.

The cost of prescriptions will also be an important consideration, especially if you take medication regularly and don't have supplemental coverage. Some experts advise that you should also call local physicians and hospitals to see if they accept the plan and whether they have had any problems with it.

Some states offer health insurance for those with a home based business - check with your state's insurance department to see what the options are. And you may find that you are able to get more affordable health insurance if you join your state's small business organization or trade association. A health savings account allows you to put aside money for a medical emergency as well as offering tax-free savings.

Another place you may not have thought of going to for health insurance is your local discount store. The discount chain Sam's Club now offers health insurance for small businesses and the self employed - typical savings tend to be around 25% compared to other health care programs.

And when it comes to the often daunting task of tax preparation for the self employed, there is some help from the IRS. Health insurance costs for the self employed have been tax-deductible for the last few years - a trend that's likely to continue.

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