The Most Affordable Insurance Options For Freelancers

by Leon on January 20, 2013

There are many benefits to becoming a freelancer. These days, with unemployment high and the stability of the job market uncertain, contract work offers skilled and knowledgeable job seekers the opportunities to ply their trade, even if only for short-term projects. But of course, most freelancers also enjoy the ability to set a flexible schedule, work from home, skip the daily commute of a nine-to-five, and be the boss. Unfortunately, the life of a freelancer also has a downside. You must motivate yourself to get work done and you’ll frequently have to hustle for clients if you want to pay the bills. In addition, although you receive a higher pay rate than you might as a regular employee, you also give up the benefits that most companies afford their full-time staff, including health insurance. This means you’ll have to pay for your own, and it can cost a pretty penny.

Luckily, there are a lot of options out there that freelancers can take advantage of. If you have the cash you can certainly spend it on top-notch policies with big-name providers like Blue Cross and United. But why waste the money when there are far more affordable options to be had? A good place to start your search is at FreelancersUnion.org, an online group that caters to all types of freelancers, from writers and lawyers to nannies and other caregivers. In addition to aiding freelancers in necessary tasks like making contracts and finding jobs, they also help you to find all kinds of affordable insurance policies including medical, dental, life, and even retirement plans. They generally aren’t as pricy as straight up personal insurance and they can offer many attractive benefits and options to choose from.

Of course, the options offered in your area may still be outside your price range. In this case, you’ll have to look at other potential avenues of becoming insured. There are all kinds of discount insurance companies available online, but there is a tradeoff when you select these providers. For starters, you really need to read the fine print as you will almost certainly face restrictions. In most cases these have to do with copay. Although you enjoy low monthly payments, you’ll have to pay more any time you go for a doctor visit or incur other medical expenses.

While you might be used to an 80/20 split (you pay 20% of the bill) where your copay is concerned, discount insurers may offer 65/35, or even less. In addition, they may not cover preventive visits (annual physicals, for example) or certain types of procedures. If you’re young and healthy this might not pose much of an issue for you, but it can be a problem for those who have preexisting conditions or who tend to be prone to accident, injury, and/or illness. You might also look into insurers that have their own facilities, such as Kaiser Permanente, with the understanding that you’ll pay less but you will only be covered when visiting their offices.

Finally, if you’re not earning much income from your freelance efforts, you might seek out services for low-income demographics, such as a state health care program that allows you to visit certain area clinics and hospitals for care with only an office visit copay. Or if you take several medications you might look into prescription assistance programs that will help you cover the cost of pharmaceuticals or test kits (a diabetes or adrenal fatigue test kit, for example). The point is that there are several options for the freelancer seeking a way to cut costs when it comes to insurance, so you can pick the one that suits your needs and your budget.

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