As a freelancer, you enjoy the flexibility and a work-life balance on your terms. However, doing business independently of a sole company means you are responsible for finding your health insurance. There are many alternatives to employer-sponsored health insurance like COBRA, the ACA exchange, the Freelancer’s Union, and Mira. Knowing your options and their advantages and disadvantages will help you make the best decision for you and your family.
Health Insurance for Freelance Photographers
Freelance photographers’ health insurance needs do not differ much from other freelancers. Freelancers, self-employed individuals, and some employees of small businesses should consider the following when determining the right option for them.
- How often do you require care from a primary care physician or specialist?
- Do you seek emergency care often?
- Do you take expensive prescription medications?
- Are you expecting children or planning on having children?
- Are you expecting an upcoming surgery
- Do you have a chronic illness?
- How much can you afford to pay for a monthly premium?
- How much can you afford to pay out-of-pocket?
Health Insurance Options for Freelance Photographers
|Health Coverage Type||Most Suitable For|
|Spouse’s Policy||People who are married to someone who has employer-sponsored insurance|
|COBRA||People who just left a job that provided employer-sponsored insurance|
|ACA Exchange (Healthcare.gov)||People who are categorized as low-income|
|Freelancers Union||People who plan on long-term freelancing and want additional benefits|
|Mira||People seeking affordable coverage who want to supplement a high-deductible plan|
If your spouse has existing or employer-sponsored insurance, they could add you to their insurance plan. If you are married, this would be the best option for you. You might get the most coverage and only have to pay slightly more than your spouse’s current premium.
Before being added to your spouse’s plan, determine how much it will change the premiums. In some cases, they may add you for free, while other plans may have you pay a part of the premium.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires companies to extend employer-sponsored health coverage for 18 months (sometimes longer) after leaving their job. Whether you quit your job, got fired, or were laid off, you qualify for this extension. However, only employees of the private sector or local/state government groups with greater than 20 employees are eligible for COBRA.
However, if your employer contributed to your premium, you will pay more for the same insurance you had when you were employed. COBRA may not be the most affordable option even if it is the most convenient after leaving a job.
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The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides individuals with affordable healthcare plans if they are under a certain income level. Generally, individuals who make below $51,000 annually and couples who make $69,000 annually qualify for coverage under the ACA, but these requirements vary from state to state.
If you fall under the income requirement, the ACA might be your best option. However, if you make more than the maximum allowed, you can still use Healthcare.gov to enroll in high-quality health coverage. It will still meet the ACA requirements for adequate coverage. Healthcare.gov can either direct you to your state’s insurance marketplace or allow you to enroll directly through the federal marketplace.
After filling out the Marketplace application, you will be guided through how to sign up for a plan. Based on your household size and income, the website will inform you if you qualify for premium tax credits and other savings.
The Freelancer’s Union is a nonprofit organization representing independent workers in the United States. In addition to health insurance, the Freelancer’s Union provides freelancers of all kinds with a disability, liability, vision, dental, and life insurance. Membership requires an application, but once you are accepted, membership is free.
A member of the Freelancer Union will guide you through curating insurance plans that cater to your personal and professional needs. In addition to insurance, the Freelancer’s Union provides community, education, and advocacy to freelancers.
New York, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas offer health insurance through the Freelancer’s Union. Enter your zip code, household type, and annual income into the insurance finder to determine your best health insurance plan.
Mira is an excellent alternative to health insurance for freelancers seeking health coverage. However, it is not a traditional insurance plan. For an average of $45 a month, Mira offers its members primary care visits and discounts on over 1000 prescription medications, lab tests, and urgent care visits. You can also add anyone 12+ to your Mira plan.
Not only is Mira a great option as a stand-alone coverage plan, but it can also supplement insurance with high deductibles, making it perfect for young, healthy adults. Join today to get covered and start saving.
Health Insurance for Freelance Photographers Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You may still have questions about health insurance options for freelance photographers. Below are answers to a couple of questions you might still have.
Virtual care for only $25 per visit
Virtual primary care, urgent care, and behavioral health visits are only $25 with a Mira membership.
Am I a freelancer?
A freelancer or self-employed individual
- Carries on a trade or business as a sole proprietor or independent contractor
- Is a member of a partnership that carries on a trade or business
- Is otherwise in business for yourself, including a part-time business
What happens if I do not get health insurance?
Most states (except for Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island) no longer have a financial penalty for not having health insurance. However, there are still many consequences to not having reliable health insurance. We are not in control of unexpected health challenges, and having adequate coverage may save you from high medical bills. Reliable health insurance is an investment for your future.
Can I switch insurance or coverage providers?
You can only switch providers for insurance companies during the open enrollment period, which runs from November 1 to December 15. You may also be eligible for a special enrollment period due to a qualifying life event.
What is the difference between Mira and regular health insurance?
Mira is not a health insurance plan but provides its members with discounted primary care visits, prescription medications, urgent care visits, lab tests, and much more. Members access all these perks for a flat copay. Mira offers flexibility as it can be used as a supplemental solution for uninsured or underinsured individuals on top of insurance plans. It is also a good option as it requires no deductible or proof of income.
Although you do not have a company providing you with subsidized insurance, as a freelancer, you still deserve affordable and accessible healthcare. There are several options for health coverage for freelancers who may have just left their job or are expecting to freelance long-term.
Mira offers discounted access to a plethora of healthcare services for an average of $45 a month, making it an excellent and affordable option for freelancers. Sign up today!
Shandra is a junior at Yale University, where she is studying biomedical engineering. Before joining Mira, Shandra wrote in the science and technology column of a local newspaper. Additionally, she has experience writing healthcare policy, covering topics such as the American Rescue Plan Act, abortion rights, and expansion of Medicare eligibility.