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  • Meta:

    Freelance? How to Get Insured

    The inviting possibility of self-employment often comes to a screeching halt by a lack of insurance, but don’t give up yet. A little research can go a long way.

    Best Scenario: Take Advantage of Others
    SEEK SPOUSAL SUPPORT The best alternative to coverage from an employer is coverage from someone else’s. If you are married and your spouse is covered by an employer, you likely can be too. Although premiums will probably increase, this cost will likely be much less than a premium for coverage of your own. Also worth investigating is “significant other” coverage, in which companies extend coverage to unmarried couples living together, provided they have a notarized statement claiming they plan to continue cohabitation.

    PLAN FOR PARENTAL PROTECTION Try dear old Mom and Dad. Insurance companies have different rules regarding age, student status and other variables. Although you may not fit the profile, it’s an option worth examining.

    LOOK BEHIND YOU Try your soon-to-be-former employer. If you have coverage and are leaving your job, you could be eligible for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. Under COBRA, most employees are eligible to temporarily keep their health insurance plans after they leave. There are catches: First, you will be responsible for paying your entire insurance premium (most employers usually split this cost with their employees during employment) plus administrative fees, but this is usually a better deal than any alternative.

    Finding it Yourself
    None of the above apply? More options remain.

    GET A GROUP EFFORT Keep in mind while investigating that larger groups have more buying power and get better deals. Seek out applicable trade or professional groups that offer coverage to their members (National Writers Union or Authors Guild). Organizations for the self-employed usually offer some coverage for members, including the National Association for the Self-Employed and the Freelancers’ Union. Also, look into local and state programs. New York state offers a program called Healthy New York that offers reduced-cost health insurance to certain working uninsured individuals.

    LEAD THE WAY Find your own plan. Insurance quotes are accessible online, either from third-party sites that compare plans (eHealthInsurance.com) or directly from insurance companies. Although these premiums are usually high and plans aren’t always ideal, shop around.

    Tips
    RESEARCH YOUR OPTIONS. Because there are so many variables, investigate carefully. If you are unfamiliar with companies you come across, contact the Better Business Bureau. Don’t let insurance stand in the way of your career plans.

    — Story by Ashley White

    Posted by Tim Leong on June 6th, 2005 filed in Story Archive |

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