Wanted: Health Care Coverage for Our Backbone
Small business has been quoted over an over as the hardest working segment of the U.S. economy. We are the people of the "Gig Economy" the contract, on call, and independent contractors of the U.S. In May 2017, there were 10.6 million independent contractors or 6.9 percent of total employment, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (blg.gov). "A new NPR/Marist poll finds that 1 in 5 jobs in America is held by a worker under contract. Within a decade, contractors and freelancers could make up half of the American workforce," according to NPR.
Great news about our "new" twitter-ific label, our others were getting a bit worn. Rather than lumping us all in a single pile, which doesn't sync with what we actually do for the country, how about this, we are the risk-taking entrepreneurs, the self-employed, the lone rangers. We roll with commission only pay, per-project contracts, and if we just "show up" we don't eat. Personally, along with 78% of my compatriot gig-s, I am very happy working this way. Yet for this life of produce or die, our reward is paying all of our cost of doing business, taxes, and my fav - insurance. Well, actually it IS my favorite, but that for another day.
November 1, in most states, is the open enrollment period start for healthcare.gov, which I thought was my family's only option. However, I have news, there are others.
The keys to choosing what's best is carefully looking at the following:
1. How much am I going to spend to get the best coverage for our needs?
We know people across the country who are paying thousands in premium, and that starts the ball rolling. To maximize their coverage, they will need to spend over $20,000 to meet their deductible and pay their premium (by the way, premiums don't count toward deductibles.)
The Key: Looking at what you'll be paying out to actually get the coverage. It's wise to create a couple of scenarios and run the numbers. Keep in mind the list of no cost benefits which all ACA plans must have. And, always consider the car accident, the emergency room visit, and the unexpected. You might want to take a look at your auto insurance and understand what your medical payments are under your policy. For an accident which happened in my driveway, we had to use my auto policy first then my medical coverage.
2. Is my Dr. part of the network?
A highly personal issue, or non-issue, which can profoundly affect your decision/costs.
3. Educate yourself about auxiliary options.
HSA's can be a best friend for the self-employed. They are for high-deductible plans, but beware, the healthcare.gov options I've looked at are not compatible. Gap insurance can help you survive the deductible dilemma.
4. The medication you take or the chronic illnesses of your loved ones.
Take your list and do the comparisons
for other options, look at companies like Agentra who offer a wide variety of plans and use group rates by tying into national associations. This company also adds My HealthPass to their plans providing additional resources.
If you don't mind verbalizing your belief in a higher-power, Aliera is a cost-sharing health ministry which has interesting options. They use verbiage which reflects not being an insurance offering - but you will see it is easy to translate.
Since I have been on this journey,personally, I am more than happy to share my insight. And perhaps why I'd rather work this way. Email me here.
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