Health Insurance How-ToPosted on Thursday, March 1st, 2007 by Andy Jones
Self Employed Health Insurance – It isa different world!
Being self employed for the last six years and a licensed insurance agent for part of that time period, I can relate to the problems of securing health insurance if you are self employed or a small business owner.
If you are self employed, health insurance is a must! You can deduct the insurance premiums from your taxes and the newer health savings accounts are designed specifically to meet the needs of the self employed entrepreneur or small businessowner. I am not going to go into the details of an HSA here but you can check out detailed information on this web site HERE.
The importance of health insurance if you are self employed
Before I get started with some advice from a true self employed viewpoint, let me relate a personal experience. In 2002, i was rushed to the hospital with pancreatitis. I got out of the hospital 6 days later. 2 weeks after that, I had surgery to remove my gall bladder. This was not life threatening, I was not in intensive care and gall bladder surgery is routine and simple. Now let me tell you why health insurance is so darned important if you are self employed.
The bill was over $75,000. I was responsible for the entire bill.
Between the hospitalization and the surgery, I missed 10 days of work. Guess what? Self employed people don’t get paid sick days.
Not having health insurance was a hassle. At times, I felt like a second class citizen and in several instances payment arrangements had to be made prior to getting the services.
I paid full price. If you have health insurance, even if you have not met your deductible, most doctor and hospital services are priced on two different tier levels. One tier is full price for those that have no health insurance and the other tier is the rate which your insurance company has agreed to pay. If you have health insurance, you pay less.
Most of us have not been self employed our entire lives. We worked in a corporate environment at some point where our employer paid all or most of our health insurance and it was deducted from our pay check. Our biggest decision was whether or not to add the kids and spouse. Now you are the person making all the decisions and there is no ‘insurance lady’ you can call in the Human Services Department.
Pre-existing conditions can be the deal breaker.
You really need to do your homework on securing self employed health insurance before you leave your present employer if at all possible. Generally speaking, your employer has a Group Policy. There is an enrollment period and as long as you enroll when you are supposed to, they have to take you and your family regardless of what your health conditions might be.
Before you make the decision to leave the employer, check around to see if you can even secure health insurance as a self employed individual. If you have a history of heart disease, diabetes, obesity or even a prescription for anti-depressants, you will probably be declined health insurance . That’s right — the health insurance companies like Blue Cross / Blue Shield, Assurant and others do NOT have to give you insurance! Or think about this, what if your spouse or children have health issues? You may be able to secure health insurance but they won’t! What do you do then? Some states have what they call a ‘high risk pool’ that will take you but the premiums may be as much as two times the normal rate. It can get real pricey in a hurry so do your homework!
Self Employed Health Insurance – Where do you start?
There are two ways to go here –
- Do it your self without the benefit (or aggravation) of deling with an insurance agent. Familiarize your self with the way health insurance works. Learn about limitations and exclusions, deductibles and co-pays and everything else that makes a health insurance policy works. Many people in this day and time do not want to divulge private information to another individual and if this makes you uncomfortable, this may be the best route to go. Let me warn you the learning curve is pretty steep and you need to persevere and learn as much as you can! There will be technical terms you will need to be familiar with and plenty of ‘small print’ to read. Just remember you have to get this right. The health and well being of you and your family is at stake and if you do not select a plan which gives you the coverage you desire it can be disastrous. The good news is the information is readily available on the internet. There is a huge selection of self employed health insurance advice right here on SelfEmployed Web. Ok, so now you feel confident that you can shop for hea lth insurance. Again, the good news is you can do it online. There are several companies that specialize in on line health insurance. They give you the ability to compare different policies side by side, do the application and submit it all online. As a matter of fact, that is exactly what I have done the last 2 times I secured health insurance. The best one and the one I use is eHealth. They have been online for years and it is really a pretty simple process. eHealthInsurance offers the largest selection of health plans. Compare & Apply Online, Free instant quotes, Best prices, and Live help! The last policy I got from them was a Blue Cross / Blue Shield HSA.
- The second choice involves soliciting the help of a professional Health Insurance advisor more commonly known as an Insurance Agent. These people can be as aggravating and pushy as a used car salesman but remember they are professionally tested and licensed so they DO know more than you do about health insurance. I have done this in the past and it turned out reasonably well. Again, you can use the internet to simplify the process. There are literally thousands of web sites that will forward your basic information to an insurance agent in your local area. You need to choose a website that will protect your personal information and just not sell it willy nilly all over the internet. The one I would recommend is NetQuote. They have been in businesssince 1989 and I have used them with success in the past. They are also a supporter of SelfEmployed Web.
Self Employed Health Insurance – A Summary
Self Employed Health Insurance is necessary.
Make sure you and your family are insurable.
Do it yourself. eHealthInsurance offers the largest selection of health plans. Compare & Apply Online, Free instant quotes, Best prices, and Live help!
Enlist the help of a Licensed Insurance Agent with NetQuote