Health Insurance

Best Health Insurance & Coverage Options For Freelancers 2023

Spencer Lee
Spencer Lee8 Jul 2023

Best Health Insurance & Coverage Options For Freelancers

Being a freelancer does not mean you should live without health coverage, even if you think you can’t afford it. Several options can help you access affordable coverage that fits within your budget. Some of these options include: the Affordable Care Act, gaining coverage through a spouse, COBRA Coverage, and the Freelancer’s Union. 

While navigating health coverage options can certainly be confusing, it does not have to be. With Mira, you can gain access to discounted urgent care visits, primary care visits, prescription medication, and lab tests for just $45 per month. Sign up for Mira today and start saving immediately. 

Best Health Insurance for Freelancers

Several factors determine what freelancers should be looking for when they are deciding upon health insurance. Each person’s needs are different and you should consider the factors listed below when determining your type of coverage and how much coverage you need: 

  • How frequently do you see a primary care physician or specialist?
  • How frequently do you seek emergency care?
  • How expensive is your medication?
  • Are you expecting children or plan on having children?
  • Do you have any upcoming surgeries?
  • Do you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or cancer?
  • How much are you willing to pay for monthly premiums?
  • How much out-of-pocket are you willing to pay?

Clearly, not all health insurance and coverage options are suitable for everybody. Some people may be in good health and rarely see a doctor. For these individuals, a plan with higher out-of-pocket costs and lower monthly premiums might be a better choice. At the same time, other individuals may have chronic illnesses and need to see doctors and receive medication frequently. For these people, a plan that pays a higher portion of your medical costs, but has higher monthly premiums may be better.

Outlined below are just a few options and who they might be suitable for:

Best Health Insurance Options for Freelancers 2021

Health Coverage TypeMost Suitable For
Spouse’s PolicyPeople who are married or in relationships
COBRAPeople who just left an employer-based job.
ACA Exchange ( who are categorized as low-income.
Freelancer’s UnionIndividuals who plan on freelancing in the long-term and want additional benefits, such as education and advocacy.
MiraPeople seeking affordable coverage or who want to supplement a high deductible plan

Spouse’s Employer Coverage: Best if You Have a Working Spouse

Many freelancers simply add themselves to a spouse or partner’s health insurance plan to maintain coverage. If you are married or in a serious relationship, this should be the first option you consider when seeking health insurance because you might get the most coverage while just adding a bit on top of what your partner is currently paying for their own coverage.

In some cases, you may be able to get added to your spouse’s insurance plan for free. However, in other circumstances, you may have to pay your part of the premium to be added to the policy. Prior to being added to your spouse’s plan, you should determine how much monthly premiums may cost. 

Getting all the facts prior to being added to your spouse’s coverage can allow you to conduct a cost comparison of all your options. Although in many instances being added to a spouse’s plan is the most convenient option, it is not always the cheapest. To ensure you are not overpaying for insurance, consider all your options prior to making a decision.

ACA Exchange: Best for People with Low Income

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) allows you to access affordable care if you qualify under the income requirements. Generally speaking, households with one individual making below $51,000 per year qualify for Obamacare coverage, while households with two people who make below $69,000 annually qualify. Exact requirements vary by state and number of people in your household. 

In many cases, directly accessing care through the Affordable Care Act is a viable option for acquiring freelancer health insurance. For others that surpass the income requirement, accessing care by qualifying for ACA coverage will not be possible. However, those who do not qualify can still use the individual Health Insurance Marketplace to enroll in flexible, high-quality health coverage. In the Marketplace, you can choose from several categories of coverage, from plans with low premiums that are for worst-case scenarios to plans where you pay for higher premiums each month but will ultimately pay less out-of-pocket when you access healthcare. 

When you fill out the Marketplace application, you will find out if you qualify for premium tax credits and other savings on health plans. Again, this will be based on your household size and income. Furthermore, you will also find out if you qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid and CHIP programs in your state. 

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COBRA Coverage: Best for People that Just Left a Job

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act requires companies to offer you the right to extend your coverage when you leave your job. This coverage extension usually lasts for 18 months (sometimes longer). Individuals qualify under COBRA regardless of the method by which they are leaving their job (e.g. quitting, fired, laid off). However, you should note that COBRA only applies to the private sector or local/state government groups with greater than 20 employees. 

The downside to COBRA is that your same insurance will cost you more out of pocket than when you were employed, assuming your employer contributed anything to your coverage. Because your employer is no longer assuming some of the cost of premiums, you will likely have to pay the entire cost of the premium. Therefore, while it may be convenient, COBRA may not be the most affordable option. You should compare the cost of COBRA with all of your options prior to making a decision for your health insurance. 

Freelancer’s Union: Best for All Freelancers

The Freelancer’s Union is the largest organization representing independent workers in the United States. Membership is free and open to freelancers of all kinds. By joining the union, you can gain access to insurance benefits such as health, dental, term life, disability, liability, and vision. 

Health insurance will be curated to your individual and professional needs, and every product is chosen with affordability and accessibility in mind, so you do not spend more than you have to. Membership requires an application, but once accepted, a dedicated member of the Freelancer Union insurance team will walk you through the decision-making process. This option is best for all freelancers, since joining the union offers benefits besides insurance, such as community, education, and advocacy.

Health insurance through the Freelancer’s Union is available in New York, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Through the insurance finder, you will be able to enter your zip code, household type, and annual income. From here, the Freelancer’s Union will determine the best health insurance plan for you. 

Mira: Best Alternative to Health Insurance

Because of its flexibility, affordability, and reliable customer service team, Mira is an excellent option for all freelancers seeking health coverage. Though it is not technically insurance, for just $45 per month Mira offers its members discounted urgent care visits, primary care visits, lab tests, and prescription medications. All visits to urgent care and primary care cost only $99 and are typically all-inclusive. 

Mira is a great option both as an individual health coverage plan, but also as a supplement to insurance with high deductibles. Many Mira members save thousands of dollars annually; join today and find out how much you can save. 

Health Insurance Options for Freelancers 2021 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I know if I am a freelancer?

In general, you are self-employed if you meet any of the following criteria:

  1. You carry on a trade or business as a sole proprietor or independent contractor.
  2. You are a member of a partnership that carries on a trade or business.
  3. You are otherwise in business for yourself, including a part-time business.
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What is a premium?

A premium is how much you pay monthly for health insurance. If your premium is $50, then you will pay $50 every month to maintain coverage. Higher premiums are associated with lower deductibles, and lower premiums are associated with higher deductibles.

What is a deductible?

A deductible is the cost of healthcare that you have to pay before your insurance starts working to pay for your healthcare. For instance, if your deductible is $4000, then you will have to pay $4000 out of pocket for any health-related expenses until your insurance kicks in and starts paying for your health expenses. After you reach your deductible amount, your insurance works to pay for your healthcare expenses. High deductibles are associated with low monthly premiums, while low deductibles are associated with high monthly premiums. 

What is a copay?

A copay is a fixed amount of money for a covered service. For instance, if your insurance copay is $50 for visiting the emergency room, then you will pay $50 for seeking care at the emergency room. 

What is the difference between Mira and regular health insurance?

Mira is a better and more affordable health benefit that helps people access preventive and urgent care at a flat copay. It is commonly used as a supplemental solution for people that are uninsured or underinsured (have high out-of-pocket expenses). Mira is not a health insurance plan; however, many people use Mira on top of their catastrophic or high deductible plan to access affordable healthcare. 

Bottom Line

Being a freelancer does not mean you have to go without health insurance. Several options exist for freelancers who may have just lost a job or are expecting to work for themselves for a long period of time. Regardless of their circumstances, freelancers have a multitude of options that will align with what they exactly need both personally and professionally.

Mira is an excellent health coverage candidate for freelancers. For just $45 per month, Mira offers its members discounted access to preventative care, urgent care, lab tests, and prescription medication. Sign up today.

Spencer Lee

Spencer is a Public Health & Biology undergraduate student at New York University.