Friday, February 24, 2012

Insurance for Freelancers

Freelancers get lots of perks, but they tend to be lifestyle-related - as opposed to benefits and salary-related.

The biggest complication for most freelancers is the thorny question of insurance and health care costs. I'm fortunate that I've been covered by my spouse's plan all these years, but many of my freelance writer friends are not, and buying insurance privately is tough.

There is some good news on the horizon. As part of the 2010 health care reform bill (aka Obamacare), nonprofit co-op health care programs are being initiated, with the goal of having at least one in each state. According to Kaiser Health News, "Seven organizations will receive a total of $639 million in federal low-interest loans to launch new, consumer-governed health insurance plans in eight states, the federal government announced Tuesday. The new plans, authorized by the 2010 health law, are scheduled to open for business in 2014. They will be available on the new state health exchanges, or marketplaces, mandated by the law, and primarily will serve Americans under age 65 in the individual and small-group insurance markets."

There's still a wait until all this kicks into gear in 2014, however. Meanwhile, here are some additional options compiled by GoHealthInsurance:

Individual Health Insurance: You can take health insurance coverage into your own hands by buying individual health insurance. There are a variety of options for your budget and health needs. For those with a tight budget consider a high deductible plan with low monthly payments.

Chamber of Commerce: Most people do not realize that their local chamber of commerce could be a good option for insurance. Many chambers of commerce offer small business plans that might be a potential option for you. Visit your local branch to learn more about this type of plan.

Freelancers Union: Freelancers seeking health insurance might find what they are looking for with the Freelancers Union. The organization is free to join and its sole purpose is to support freelancers across the country. You can even opt for dental and disability insurance.

COBRA: The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 offers health insurance options for those individuals who recently resigned or were fired from their position. If you are leaving your current office to become a freelancer, COBRA could be a good option for you. But, keep in mind, it is not a long-term solution. Once you sign up for COBRA, you have 18 months to utilize the plan, and after that, you will need to seek a more permanent solution like individual health insurance.

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