Finding affordable health insurance for freelancers and independent contractors can be challenging and frustrating, but you do have several options. You can search for health insurance coverage from independent agents or online. When you shop for health insurance online, you can compare several plans at the same time. Which health insurance plan will work best for you and your family will depend on your age, the ages of your family members, your family's health history, your budget and the amount of risk you are willing to live with.
Join a Unions or Association
One option is joining a freelancer's or writer's union, or an independent contractor's association. They might have some health insurance options that work for you. The National Writers Union offers a few different options.
The National Association for the Self Employed is another resource for health insurance that even offers free estimates. If you are a published author, you may be able to obtain discounted insurance from the Author's Guild.
Understand Your Rights to COBRA
If you were recently laid off from a full-time job, COBRA health insurance coverage might be your best temporary option. Your previous employer is required by federal law to offer additional health, dental and vision coverage that you received while you were employed with them for up to 8 - 36 months. The cost for your COBRA coverage will be the same as the group rate your previous employer was paying.
COBRA coverage can be expensive for individuals to pay, but it may be your best choice for temporary coverage--especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions or other high risk factors that could make it difficult for you to obtain affordable health coverage from other insurers.
Look Into High Risk Health Insurance Pools from Your State
Several states also offer high risk health insurance pools that are less expensive than most private insurance plans. These state health insurance pools are a good solution for people who cannot get approved for private health insurance due to pre-existing medical conditions or other high risk issues. The Health Insurance Resource Center can provide more detailed information about this option.
Plan Ahead for Health Coverage
Be sure to plan ahead, because some health insurance providers can take up to a couple months (or longer) to approve new subscribers. Some people have waited a couple months only to find out they were not approved, and then have to scramble desperately at the last minute for other health insurance coverage--or even worse, go without health insurance coverage.
With the rising costs of health care, it is recommended that you don't let your health insurance coverage lapse. Any gaps in your health insurance coverage could put you and your family at a huge financial risk. Health insurance may seem expensive, but the risk of not having it could send you into bankruptcy if you or a family member were to develop a health problem (or get in an unexpected accident) while you didn't have coverage.