In a few short years, nearly half of the American workforce will be working for themselves . One of the biggest drawbacks to going freelance is leaving behind the health benefits offered by employers.
So what are the best health options for independent workers?
One of the most common ways to purchase lower-cost health insurance is to go through your local Chamber of Commerce, which will often offer packages for companies consisting of at least two employees as well as those specifically geared toward the self-employed.
When you're working full-time for a company, your health insurance is cheaper than standard market price because it's purchased at a group rate. But there are also various associations that use this same model, one of which is the Freelancers Union , currently one of the fastest -growing labor organizations in the nation w ith more than 200,000 members.
The company formed the Freelancers Insurance Company (FIC), a for-profit business that provides health insurance for members of the Freelancers Union. By pooling members together, FIC is able to purchase the plans in groups and make costs more affordable for members.
A single plan can cost you anywhere between $200 and $600 per month and between $630 to $1,700 for a family plan. Still, this ends up costing independent workers 39 percent less than an individual market plan, according to its website. To qualify, however, the freelancer has to work in the following industries:
Arts, design, and entertainment.
Media and advertising.
Domestic child care giver (non-institutional and for a child to whom you're not related).
Skilled computer user.
Traditional or alternative health care provider.
There are other requirements as well, such as where you live and the amount of money you make monthly. Find out more information through the Freelancers Insurance Company here.
By next year, freelancers won't have to worry too much about health insurance, though. With the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) , self-employed individuals and small businesses will have access to group rates through the Health Insurance Marketplace, which will offer a choice of plans administered by private insurance companies. Get more information at Healthcare.gov .
Another option to consider is forming your own group by finding other freelancers who are also looking for health insurance. Whatever you decide to do, there are associations out there to help you do it . Contact them and ask about both individual and group plans. If you have at least one other person working with you, you may even qualify as a small business, which will allow you to buy health insurance at a lower rate.
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