You equip yourself for your work through training and tools of many kinds. But it’s crucial that you also include self-employed health insurance in your toolbox for business success. Keeping yourself healthy is key to having a thriving business.
Being self-employed and creating your work is a joy for many people. But it also means that you wear many hats, including figuring out medical insurance. The independent agents at Lake Region Insurance Agency can help you find the coverage that best suits your needs.
Visit one of our offices in New London, Willmar, or Cokato, MN. Or call us for a free insurance review and quote. We are eager to help you choose a self-employed health insurance policy that will meet your priorities and support your plans.
First Things First: Self-Employed or Small Employer?
It’s important to determine if you truly fall under the self-employed designation or if you are a small employer.
You are self-employed in your business if you bring in income but don’t have employees. Small employers have at least one employee other than the owner. Small businesses with employees should consider group health insurance to cover everyone.
Hiring 1099 independent contractors doesn’t affect your self-employed status. But once you hire a W2 employee, you are a small employer.
Self-employed business owners can buy a policy through the individual Health Insurance Marketplace®. There you’ll find medical coverage that supports you and your family while you run your business.
Self-Employed Health Insurance Choices
When you need to select a healthcare plan as a self-employed individual, you have a few options.
For those who qualify, the Health Insurance Marketplace can offer an affordable way to purchase coverage. Income requirements apply for those wanting to shop on the Marketplace. Your independent agent can help you navigate this to see if you qualify for assistance with premiums.
You also can buy medical insurance directly from a provider without going through the Marketplace. Generally, this process requires less paperwork and moves a little more quickly. But it doesn’t take advantage of Marketplace discounts that may be available.
Plans typically come in bronze, silver, and gold levels. Each level has a different balance between monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
For example, bronze-level plans will have lower premiums but higher out-of-pocket expenses. Gold plans are the other way around. There are caps on the amount you have to pay each year outside of your premiums.
Out-of-pocket costs can include any of the following:
- Copayments for Office Visits
- Prescription Costs
- Coinsurance Fees (After Meeting the Deductible)
Identify Your Priorities When Choosing a Plan
Workplaces pre-select a few plans for their employees to choose from each year. However, as a self-employed business owner, you have significantly more choices. You can consider policies from any provider that offers coverage in your state.
When you need to select a plan, there are a lot of factors to consider:
- How much can you afford each month for premiums?
- Do you need insurance only for yourself or for your whole family?
- Are there specific doctors you want to be able to see?
- Do you need coverage for certain medications?
- How often do you typically go to the doctor?
Answering these questions with your insurance agent will help them guide you to a plan that meets your needs. They can help you find appropriate coverage that fits your budget.
How Do Marketplace Subsidies Work?
If you shop the Marketplace for a plan, you may find that you are eligible for subsidies that lower your premiums. You will need to estimate your income for the upcoming year to determine eligibility. Your previous year’s tax return can provide you with a reasonable financial forecast for your application.
Subsidies generally are available for individuals and households earning up to 400% of the poverty level. The actual dollar amount shifts from year to year based on the government’s poverty threshold. And the limits depend on the number of people in your household. Your agent can help you with this information.
If your estimate ends up being lower than your actual earnings, you may have to pay back some or all of the subsidy. If it turns out to be high, extra premium tax credits could lower your tax bill. Check with your tax professional for guidance about this.
When to Enroll In Self-Employed Health Insurance
The open enrollment period for choosing medical insurance is November 1 to December 15 each fall. If you do not select a plan during this window, then you probably have to wait until the following year to enroll.
However, some life changes create the opportunity to enroll at other times in the year. Qualifying life events allow you to use a special enrollment period. These situations include:
- Getting Married
- A Divorce that Results In Loss of Coverage
- Having a Baby
- Aging Out of Your Parents’ Plan
- Loss of Job-Based Coverage
If you’re seeking medical coverage unexpectedly, reach out to the Lake Region team for assistance. They can help you determine your eligibility and find the healthcare plan that fits your needs.
Protecting Yourself Is Critical
Some business owners are tempted to skip buying self-employed health insurance for themselves. But this isn’t a good choice for several reasons.
First, your state may have mandates in place for owning coverage. Ignoring those could have consequences.
More importantly, however, you leave yourself at significant financial risk if you forego medical coverage. In a medical emergency or other healthcare need, you could end up with enormous bills. Having insurance in place offers you peace of mind and financial protection.
Lake Region Is Ready to Help
Being your own boss offers tremendous freedom and benefits. So make sure you protect yourself by choosing self-employed health insurance. Reach out to Lake Region Insurance Agency to get started. Our expert team of independent agents can help you find a plan that meets your needs and gives you the protection you deserve.