A freelancer does business on their own and often does not work for one sole company. While you may enjoy setting your own flexibility and work-life balance, you are responsible for finding your own health insurance, and your choices are limited. Knowing your options and your needs will help you find a plan tailored to you and your family, without breaking the bank.
Mira offers an additional health coverage option fit for a freelancer. At rates as low as the equivalent of $25 per month, you receive affordable and flexible health coverage without any requirements. Sign up and your coverage could start as quickly as today.
Health Insurance for Freelance Writers
Health insurance for freelance writers doesn’t differ that much from health insurance for any individual looking to get covered when their employer doesn’t offer them insurance. Self-employed, freelancers, and employees of small businesses all find themselves in the same boat for health coverage.
Freelance writers will need to find health coverage either through an association they belong to or directly to a provider. While there are exchanges and marketplaces where you can buy insurance, many will be expensive if you’re buying as an individual, especially if you’re trying to cover your family. Many freelance writers will qualify for tax credits to lower these costs but many freelancers still find these options to be too expensive.
Let’s take a look at what some of your best options are and what you should consider before making a buying decision.
Health Insurance Options for Freelance Writers
Different insurance options are available for people with different medical needs, incomes, and even geographic locations. A relatively healthy individual, who rarely finds themselves at the doctor, would likely benefit from a plan with a high deductible and lower monthly premiums. Alternatively, a person with a chronic health condition and many prescriptions may find a plan with a lower deductible, but higher monthly premiums most suitable for their needs.
Now let’s look at the best health insurance options available to you as a freelance writer.
Freelancer’s Union Health Plan or Other Associations
As a freelance writer, you might already be aware of the Freelancers Union, which provides health insurance specifically for freelancers. The plan also offers dental, life, and disability insurance. Such an option exists for other types of association health plans (AHPs). Additionally, the local Chamber of Commerce may also offer group health insurance for freelancers and self-employed individuals. These plans might be the best options for successful freelancers.
State Medicaid, Funded by the Federal Government
Medicaid is a health insurance option available for low-income families and individuals. Each state funds its own Medicaid program through funding help by the federal government, and eligibility requirements are dependent upon your state. Anyone making up to 133% of the federal poverty level could qualify for Medicaid, and as of 2021, the federal poverty level to qualify for Medicaid is $12,888 for individuals or $26,500 for a family of four.
If eligible, you can apply for Medicaid at any point during the year. Check your state’s Medicaid website and for more information regarding eligibility in your area.
Private Health Insurance Companies
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, created a marketplace where anyone can sign up for a health plan. Marketplace insurance offers the same essential health benefits, but monthly premiums may vary depending on the state in which you live.
The Federal Open Enrollment period lasts between November 1 to December 15 each year, with plans beginning on January 1st. Certain events may qualify you for Special Enrollment such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, job loss, also known as qualifying life events. This is similar to a group health insurance plan.
Marketplace insurance offers quality coverage for people who run their own business or are self-employed without employees. This is because it offers the same categories of essential health benefits under the Affordable Care Act, but cannot exclude people on the basis of pre-existing conditions.
When completing the health insurance marketplace application, you have to estimate your net self-employment income. Marketplace savings are based on the estimated net income for the year you are applying for coverage, not last year’s income. This can be difficult to estimate when self-employed as you may not know your income for the upcoming months or years.
Health insurance subsidies may also be available for individuals who cannot afford a health plan but do not qualify for Medicaid. If this is the case for you, you may qualify for a health insurance subsidy, lowering the cost of healthcare for individuals below 400% of the federal poverty level. Two types of subsidies are available:
- Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC): Lowers the costs of monthly premiums by providing back after filing your annual taxes. However, you can opt to receive premium tax credits throughout the year and apply them directly to your monthly premiums. Unfortunately, if at the end of the year you have utilized more than the premium tax credit in advance than anticipated based on your income, you will have to pay back that difference. But, if you have utilized less than you qualify for, you will receive that difference.
- Cost-sharing reductions (CSR): Lower deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. CSR is often called “extra savings.” With CSR, you will also have a lower out-of-pocket (OOP) maximum. Once you have achieved your OOP max, your insurance will then cover the costs of all services covered under your plan. When you apply through the Marketplace, you will find out if you qualify for APTC or CSR
COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) provides an option if you are transitioning from an employer with more than 20 employees. If you are leaving an employer, you will likely be able to keep the same insurance policy but will have to convert to an individual plan through COBRA. COBRA allows employees to retain their employer-sponsored health insurance upon leaving, regardless of if leaving is voluntary, but transitions payments to solely the individual.
This is typically very expensive because your employer previously contributed to the cost of your coverage. If you elect to use COBRA, you are now the sole financier plus, you must pay an additional 2% administrative fee. You may consider COBRA as a short-term option and can expect to receive a letter from your insurance provider explaining COBRA and your estimated costs shortly after leaving your employer.
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Health Insurance Alternatives
Mira offers a new healthcare coverage option perfect for freelancers. While Mira is not insurance, it provides flexible and affordable health coverage, offering discounted urgent care and primary care visits at just $99. You also receive same-day lab work and discounted rates for over 1000 prescriptions. There is also no employment necessary. Mira is accessible through an application on your phone with a foolproof user interface providing you the best experience.
Not only is Mira a great option for freelancers as a sole coverage option, but 1 out of 5 members use Mira in addition to a high deductible or catastrophic health plan. You may end up saving over $1000 a year on medical expenses by using Mira for your basic healthcare needs. It’s also simple. You could sign up right now and be covered by the end of the day.
Health Savings Account
A Health Savings Account (HSA) is not a stand-alone option but can be used if you have a high deductible health plan (HDHP). Such plans typically have lower premiums and may save you money on your health care especially for healthy individuals. Not all employers offer such plans, but nonetheless, are still available for self-employed individuals.
Regardless of the insurance plan, you are likely to have out-of-pocket expenses. A Health savings account can help pay for medical expenses by making pretax contributions. Instead of paying income tax, you can use the funds toward your health savings account for qualified medical expenses. HSA does not fund your insurance premium but can be applied to expenses such as copay, deductibles, prescription drugs, OTC, vision, and dental expenses
A Parent or Spouse’s Plan
A Parent or Spouse’s plan may also be an option for you. Under the ACA, if you are under the age of 26, you may be eligible to be added to your parent's plan. If your parents have insurance, talk to them about whether this would be an affordable option, as it is likely to increase their monthly premium. Similarly, you may be able to be added to your spouse’s or domestic partner’s plan. Again, this would require talking to your significant other regarding the specifics of their plan and whether adding you to the plan is an affordable option for both your budgets.
Additionally, if you are a full-time student, your college or university may also offer health insurance to cover medical services provided to you at campus facilities, as well as prescriptions provided in-network. Oftentimes, these plans do not transfer between universities or if you reduce your college credit hours to part-time status. Check with your college or university to determine plans available and your eligibility.
Health Insurance for Freelance Writers Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Oftentimes, freelancers neglect the importance of having health insurance because it may not seem essential if they are primarily working from home. Unfortunately, even if you are working from home, you are not spared from having severe illness or disease, and without insurance, this practice could end up costing you an unexpected fortune. If you are still unsure about acquiring a health coverage option, revisit the considerations to ask yourself, and begin thinking ahead about your needs.
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What is the risk of not getting health insurance?
The risk of not getting health insurance is unknown, as it varies between people and families, but no one likes paying high monthly premiums for health insurance. Despite regularly engaging in healthy lifestyle habits, your health may not always be in your control and your circumstances may unknowingly change tomorrow. Acquiring a reliable health coverage option that you can afford is a sound investment in your health and the outlook of your future.
What are the most common health insurance mistakes people make that end up costing them the most?
According to Nick Schrader at Texas General Insurance, the most common mistakes are the following:
Firstly, “availing of the discounts.” Oftentimes, insurance companies try tactics intended to make clients buy more. While an insurance company may offer discounts on multiple products, people who buy more seldom realize that many are not essential.
Another mistake people often make is not getting insurance until later in their life. Schrader suggests acquiring insurance at a young age to reduce insurance premiums later on. Having access to and utilizing preventative care may save you thousands while adding a couple of extra years to your life.”
If my circumstances change, how do I switch insurance or coverage providers?
With Mira, you can cancel at any time, but having a supplemental option will provide you the most robust coverage at your most inconvenient times. For insurance companies, you are only able to switch during the open enrollment period, unless you are eligible for a special enrollment period due to a qualifying life event.
The Bottom Line
Finding insurance as a freelancer can be costly and cumbersome without the right tools. Determining your medical needs is a great place to start when considering your health coverage options and can save you hundreds annually. Whatever profession you have, having an affordable health coverage option should be the main priority.
Mira provides a new health coverage option that is great for freelance writers, contractors, and other self-employed individuals. With Mira, you receive access to urgent care, primary care, and prescription medications at highly discounted and affordable rates. Not only is Mira great as a primary health coverage option, but is also great as supplemental coverage, especially for high-deductible plans. Try Mira today.
Ashley Brooks works in Healthcare Consulting and graduates with her MPH in September of 2022 from George Washington University, but graduated with her B.S. in Health Science from James Madison University in 2019. Ashley has been with Mira since June of 2021 and shares the passion for creating affordable healthcare coverage for all!