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How to Choose Self-Employed Health Insurance

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

Self-employed health insurance is crucial to running a successful solo business.

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
  • Deductible
  • 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?

Consider how much coverage you need for things like prescriptions.

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.

Don't miss open enrollment to get your self-employed health insurance.

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. 

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How Do I Purchase Private Health Insurance For My Family?

Right now, millions of Americans are without medical coverage. This situation is leading many to wonder how they can purchase private health insurance for themselves. 

Medical debt can be devastating and is a significant contributor to people needing to file for bankruptcy. One hospitalization can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more. If tests or procedures are necessary, the bill can skyrocket. Even outpatient costs can be shockingly high if there is no medical insurance in place.

Lake Region Insurance Agency is proud to serve its neighbors in Greater Minnesota. Our independent brokers are not tied to one company or product to find the right fit for you.  

Our health insurance products cover individuals, families, and businesses. Let us assist you in making a sound and informed decision about your health insurance needs. Call today for an insurance review or quote. 

Purchase Private Health Insurance on the Marketplace

Private health insurance is medical coverage that does not come through an employer. Job-based insurance only remains while you work for that employer. If your job ends, you are no longer eligible for their group health insurance plans.

To buy your own policy, it is best to work with an independent insurance broker to find the right option. Most people who need private insurance go through the health insurance marketplace. It has information about the available options and how to buy insurance. In Minnesota, the marketplace used to purchase private health insurance is MNSure

Need to buy private medical insurance

By using the marketplace, also known as the health insurance exchange, you may receive credits to lower your private health insurance premiums. Brokers help find the plan that will cover your needs and give you the full assistance for which you qualify. 

Typically, you need to provide documentation of your household’s income. So the exchange may ask for pay stubs and tax returns to verify your eligibility for the marketplace policies.

If you qualify for low-income or free health insurance, you will not purchase coverage from the marketplace. In this case, insurance options will be available through a government-sponsored program such as Medical Assistance or Minnesota Care. The Department of Human Services manages these programs. 

Affordable Care Act

All plans offered on the health insurance marketplace meet the Affordable Care Act (ACA) baseline for benefit standards. The ACA is the legislation that provides financial help in the form of tax credits or subsidies when buying insurance. 

Individuals and families have to fall within specified income ranges to qualify, and it can be quite confusing to understand all the intricacies. Though you can shop and compare plans yourself, many people prefer to work with an independent broker. This step can bring significant peace of mind.

Open Enrollment Periods for Private Health Insurance 

Every year, the health insurance exchange has a designated open enrollment period when you can purchase new coverage. In most states, this period runs from the beginning of November through mid-December, but be sure to check with your broker for specific dates.

Open enrollment dates for medical insurance

You could be eligible for a special enrollment period if you experience a qualifying life event. These events include:

  • Job Loss – Even if you leave a job voluntarily, if it causes you to lose insurance, you likely will be eligible for a special enrollment period.
  • Finishing College – Many students are on their parent’s medical plan. But once they are no longer in school, they must get their own coverage.
  • Divorce – If you had insurance under a spouse’s plan, you might be able to enroll in a new policy outside of open enrollment.
  • Moving Towns – Some insurance plans only cover specific areas. If you move outside your insurer’s service area, you should be eligible for special enrollment.
  • Family Size Changes – A special enrollment period begins if you have a child, adopt a child, or a child moves out of your household. 

Typically, you have 60 days from the qualifying life event to purchase a new plan. Your broker will be able to help with this.

Private Health Insurance Company Options

You also can purchase your medical coverage directly from an insurance company rather than through the exchange. If you don’t qualify for subsidies or don’t want to take advantage of them, this can be a simpler path.

Your independent agent will work with you to determine the right fit. They will look at your preferred doctors and hospitals and any medications you need to cover. Then they show you the options available and help you choose one and enroll.

How To Choose the Right Private Health Insurance Plan

There is a lot to consider when selecting a plan. For most people, they will have the policy for at least a year due to enrollment restrictions. So, you want to find the best option for your needs.

It is helpful to estimate your current healthcare costs before you purchase private health insurance for your family. Having a clear picture of ongoing medications and treatments will guide you as you select a coverage plan.

Using an Insurance Broker

The health insurance world is confusing. Whether you use the marketplace or not, it is challenging for non-experts to know all of the intricacies of different options. 

An independent broker will help remove the confusion. They do this all day long and understand all the jargon and terminology. And they can look at all available plans quickly to give you the best information possible.

When working with an agent, be ready to provide the following information:

  • Preferred Providers
  • Preferred Hospitals or Facilities
  • List of Prescription Drug Needs
  • List of Ongoing Therapies – physical, speech, occupational, etc.

Your health insurance broker will be able to save you time and money while they search for the perfect product to meet your needs

Let Us Help You with This Critical Piece

Do not risk financial devastation by going without health insurance. Let the Lake Region Insurance Agency team find the right fit for your circumstances. 

Our friendly staff has been caring for our neighbors in Willmar, Cokato, and New London, MN, for years. Stop in or give us a call today to get started on finding your next medical policy.