Affordable Healthcare Options For Self Employed Individuals

Affordable healthcare insurance for the self-employed costs much less than you may realize. Because of the Affordable Care Act legislation (Obamacare) and the availability of federal tax subsidies through State and Federal Health Exchange plans, persons that start their own small business, or work for themselves, can potentially pay thousands of dollars less per year than in the past. Of course, your household income helps determine  subsidy-eligibility and the price you pay.

Catastrophic, comprehensive and HSA plans are very popular options that often feature lower-than-expected prices. We help you find the most cost-effective way to provide medical coverage.  Traditionally, rates tend to increase less on these types of policies compared to other types of plans. And yes…periodically, you receive a surprise in the mail when you are notified that the rate actually reduced!

By shopping, comparing and reviewing your best options during Open Enrollment each year, we can easily show you the most affordable plans in your area. Customized options are available  for entrepreneurs that are not eligible for spousal coverage. policies can be molded to meet both budget and any other medical condition concerns.

SHOP Marketplace

If you have employees (including family members), many new low-cost options have become available. For example, the “SHOP” Exchange is designed to assist your workers (assuming you employ less than 50 workers) find quality benefits that meet all regulatory requirements. It’s available any month of the year since there are no Open Enrollment deadlines. Dental benefits are also available.

To be eligible, your company must have at least one full-time employee that is not a partner, family member, or owner. Flexibility of plan choices is present since you can choose to offer a single plan, or multiple plans. Ultimately, workers can view and select specific plans that best match their household income and medical condition needs. If there are no employees in your business, then SOP Exchange plans are not available.

We Help The Self-Employed Save Money

We specialize in helping you get the most value for your dollar for self-employed individuals and families. We’ll take the time to preview hundreds of Marketplace policies from many companies and present you the plans that best provide you with the plans you want and at a price you can afford. For many persons, your premiums will be tax-deductible on your 1040 Form (line 29). S-Corporation filers, however,  will have different criteria to meet.

Since we represent you, and not the insurance company, our job is never finished until you are completely satisfied. And we also review your existing coverage every year to advise you of any changes that will impact your rate or benefits. Family plan information can be found on this page. If any retired worker reaches age 65, and becomes Medicare-eligible, we will gladly review Medicare Supplement and Advantage plan options.  Senior policies offer a much different package of benefits compared to under-65 plans.

Quality Coverage From Highly-Rated Companies Must Be Considered

One of the most important considerations is the quality of the coverage and carrier. It is critical to select an  insurer that has a proven track record of paying claims on a timely basis and avoiding (if possible) large rate increases. For those reasons, we never recommend any “discount medical plans,” or “limited benefit plans.” These types of policies are not necessarily inexpensive and often feature large gaps in coverage. Pre-existing conditions are also rarely covered.

Also, these are the types of policies that frequently receive many complaints…another good reason to stay away from them. Most people who purchase these contracts, cancel quickly when they learn more about the coverage. If they have been charged an upfront payment, they are often difficult to get back. These are different than Trade Association options, which are typically dependable, although sometimes costly.

Companies Offering Coverage In Your Area

One issue that can’t be controlled is the availability of companies that participate on your State Exchange. Unlike in 2013 and earlier, when many companies offered plans, it’s a completely different scenario under Obamacare. For example, although Blue Cross (and affiliated companies) are participants in almost every state, other heavyweights such as Cigna, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare and Humana have chosen to avoid most states. UnitedHealthcare offers non-Obamacare short-term plans that feature low premiums.

Inexpensive Medical Plans

Cheap Self-Employed Medical Plans Are Available

A high-deductible major medical plan (Bronze-tier) is one of the most common choices for individuals and families that are self-employed. Premiums are often thousands of dollars less than a standard group policy, and most preventive benefits (qualified) are covered at 100% without any waiting period or copayment. Deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket expenses (MOOP) should both be considered..

A few of those benefits include routine annual physicals, wellness visits, mammograms, Pap tests and preventive colonoscopies. Your health insurer can provide a full listing of these benefits. And of course, during Open Enrollment each year, you do not have to answer any medical questions, pass a physical examination, or provide any medical records.

$7,150 Deductible Allowed

Typically, you can purchase a Marketplace  plan with deductible options as high as $7,150. Bronze-tier plans are able to offer the $7,150 option while Silver-tier plans can legally offer a $7,050 deductible. If you rarely have office visit (other than preventive) and prescription expenses, a lower deductible may be a waste of your money. If you don’t often reach your deductible, then selecting a higher deductible is advisable, allowing you to substantially lower your premium.

However, be wary of a low deductible/high coinsurance and out-of-pocket expense plan that may have higher costs than expected. The savings may end up being much less after all factors are considered. For example, A Gold-tier plan with a low deductible and high maximum out-of-pocket expense limit will not be cost-effective if you expect to incur large medical expenses.  NOTE: Tax-deducting your healthcare premiums can potentially save thousands of dollars. The Self-Employed Individuals Tax Center provides free relevant information that may be quite helpful.

Affordable HSA Plans

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are also a viable option. Although premiums are higher than catastrophic plans, much broader coverages are provided, along with the opportunity to pay for qualified medical, dental and vision expenses on a tax-deductible basis. Usually, benefits are paid at 100% after the deductible is reached (many catastrophic plans have a 20% coinsurance), so the potential out-of-pocket expenses may be less with an HSA. There are 20% and 30% coinsurance options. But we don’t feel the lower premiums are worth the potential risk you face of massive out of pocket costs.

Self employed persons also like HSAs because of the reduction in out-of-pocket expenses when you use Network providers. Although, many benefits are subject to a deductible, negotiated discounts by the major insurers can dramatically reduce your costs. For example, MRI costs can reduce from $800 to $450, and lab tests can reduce from $150 to $35. Office visit and prescription costs will also reduce, but not as substantially. Large hospital bills will receive the largest reductions. Surgical procedures and ER visits are also substantially discounted.

Medical Underwriting No Longer Utilized

Since Marketplace plans are no longer medically underwritten,  it is much easier to qualify for coverage. But this does not mean that prices are lower. In fact, they are expected to continue to rise, so that persons with serious medical problems can be treated without paying a large premium. The concept may appear unfair (or fair), depending on your personal situation. However, federal tax subsidies can ultimately can drastically reduce prices.

Although Presidential elections every four years can often lead to speculation that massive healthcare system changes will reduce rates, typically, this does not occur. Tweaks and adjustments are often helpful, and Medicaid expansion helps low-income households. But many challenges still exist for many self-employed households.

Review

We understand the financial challenges of the self-insured. Affordable health insurance plans are available and we carefully research the companies that offer the most competitive rates, and also provide the coverage that is important for you to have. We have made it easy to view rates and plan details. Of course, there is never any obligation and we’ll be happy to help with the information you receive.