As more and more people are opting to do contract work, while there are many benefits that come with having the freedom to work from home (including having a more relaxed schedule), there are two major responsibilities that contractors have to stay on top of as well: paying their own taxes and finding affordable health insurance.
When it comes to your taxes, it really is just a matter of making sure that you take out a certain amount (usually around 15 percent) for each check that you get, staying abreast of the deductions that you are eligible for and putting yourself on a quarterly payment schedule. However, when it comes to finding the right kind of health insurance policy, it can become a bit more complex.
That’s why we’re here. To provide you with five tips on how you can find good health insurance even if you do contract work:
Do some thorough research. It used to be a time when seeking out information on health insurance for the self-employed was a bit more challenging than it is now. These days, basically all insurance companies offers a policy that caters to your demographic; so it really is just a matter of researching as many insurance companies as possible until you find a rate that is manageable for you. HealthInsurance.org, NASE.org and eHealthInsurance.com are three great places to start.
Check with your spouse’s insurance. If you happen to be married to someone who has health insurance through their job, this is honestly the first option that you should consider. The main reason is because group policies tend to be significantly less than what you would pay for getting a self-employment or contractor one.
Get a policy that has a high deductible. We don’t recommend this for everyone, but if you do happen to be in good health and you don’t have a need to see a doctor on a constant basis, individual health plans that come with high deductibles are one route to go. They still provide you with the kind of coverage that comes with traditional policies, only rather than paying a lower co-pay, you will be required to pay a fuller percentage of the bill.
Apply for a membership with a trade association or union. If you have a preexisting condition that requires you going to the doctor for more than your annual check-up or you need lab work that must be sent over to some of the local lab testing centers in your area, there are a lot of associations that provide health care plan opportunities to their members. Two that immediately come to mind are Sam’s Club and FreelancersUnion.org. They may not be the cheapest, but they will be a lot lower than, say, COBRA.
Get a part-time job (with a company that offers health care). Although there aren’t as many companies that offer health care insurance to part-time employees, there are still a few that are around including Starbucks and UPS. For a few hours a week, you can still do your contract work and have the insurance that you need. It’s another option that’s worth looking into for sure.