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R&R Insurance Blog

How to Get, or Keep, Health Insurance if You Are Self Employed

Posted by Resource Center

LadyComputerIf you're starting your own business - Good for you! It's a big leap of faith and can often times be a big hit on your pocket book. If you're leaving a full-time employer to make this move, chances are you are also walking away from your health insurance coverage - or some form of it anyway. For those that have health insurance currently, but are making the move, here are some suggestions that will help you either find health insurance or try to extend what you've got for the first year or so.

How to Get or Keep Health Insurance if You Are Self Employed

  1. Enroll on spouse's plan
    If you have an insured spouse that has health insurance, this is probably your most affordable option. On average, workers pay $4,129 toward their annual health insurance premiums. This averages to $344 a month. You'll be hard pressed to find individual health insurance for that price. (Younger workers are taking a huge increase with reform, and older workers, well, they are more risky - so your age may not get you a better price in the new age of reform).
  2. COBRA Extension
    Under the COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), employers are required by federal law to offer COBRA extensions for health and dental coverage up to 18 months for you an your dependents when you leave your job. Drawback: It's really expensive. If you have planning time before you leave, consider dropping to the lowest cost plan your company offers - when the enrollment period allows. This will at least get you a lower monthly COBRA payment.
  3. Purchase your own policy
    Be leery of websites that offer you dozens of quotes for affordable health care insurance. Sure you'll get some numbers - sometimes too many numbers. But once they have your information, you'll be hounded by a plethora of independent insurance agents all clambering for the same piece of business - yours! Health insurance rates are set by the federal government - so no one company is going to be different than the other - the real difference is service from an independent agent. An independent agent can provide free quotes and handle all of the shopping for some of the best choices and value in health care coverage. An independent agent knows the marketplace, knows the product, knows the carriers and most of all will get to know you and your needs, and protect you - that's their job. See 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Individual Health Insurance and 7 tips on How To Pick The Best Individual Health Insurance Coverage.
  4. Join a professional organization that offers a health insurance benefit
    Some professional and trade associations offer health insurance with group coverage rates. If you are over 55, consider AARP.org. The National Association for the Self Employed offers insurance plans as well. Chambers of commerce or business alliances can often have a consortium offering for health care insurance too - check with your local chamber of commerce for their options.
  5. Opt to hire one person - making your own small group
    Because individual insurance is fairly expensive, some self employed people have opted to hire an additional employee to qualify them as a small business. Most independent agents like R&R Insurance can offer group premiums with 2 or more employees - this could make a significant difference in your monthly cost.
  6. Stay employed
    Probably the least desirable for someone with an entrepreneurial spirit, but the suggestion to stay employed is worth mentioning. Stay employed either with your current company or with a company that offers health insurance coverage for the minimum number of hours a week - most often times its 30 hours a week. This keeps your pocket book in line, continues coverage for your family and gives you more time to chase your dream - although a little more slowly.

For more information on insurance for self employed individuals please visit our website. R&R Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency serving all of Wisconsin. We offer businesses and families access to affordable insurance coverage with excellent 24/7 service. For more information on individual health care plans contact knowledgebroker Donna Wahl.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Reform, National Association for the Self Employed, aarp.org, Business Insurance, self employed health care insurance, health care insurance for self employed, Self Funded Health Insurance, Individual Health Insurance, COBRA, Get or Keep Health Insurance, donna wahl

7 Tips on How To Pick The Best Individual Health Insurance Coverage

Posted by Resource Center

elderly couple in kitchenThere are two main reasons for a huge upsurge in individual health insurance inquiries. One is that thousands of baby boomers are retiring daily, and those that aren't lucky enough to have a health insurance option in their retirement plan, have to purchase health insurance/supplemental insurance elsewhere. Secondly, reform is well underway, which means that more individuals are forced to search for, and purchase, their own health insurance - depending of course the decision that their employer makes.

7+ Tips on How to Pick The Best Individual Health Insurance Coverage

      1. Identify the “must-haves.” You can’t foresee a sudden injury or illness, but some medical needs can be anticipated. Maternity coverage, for example, is an obvious must-have if you’re starting a family, and not all policies offer it. If you have a family history of heart disease, you may want to make sure your coverage includes the cost of cardiac screening tests and cholesterol-lowering drugs. Under the Affordable Care Act, individual insurance plans must cover the full cost of more than two dozen preventive services for men, women, and children, including vaccinations and tests for high blood pressure, cholesterol, colon cancer, and diabetes, as long as they’re provided by a practitioner in the plan’s network.
      2. The right plan for your age/health. If you’re relatively young and healthy, consider choosing a policy with a high deductible, the amount you must pay out of pocket before certain benefits kick in. A plan with a deductible of $1,000 or more is likely to cost you considerably less per month, and could save you money in the long run. If you middle aged or older, and things just don't work the way they used to, consider a plan that would address those issues, with a slightly lower deductible - because you know you are for certain going to use it. Do the math. Add your deductible out-of-pocket cost to the monthly cost of the plan - are you ahead at the end of the year if you use your coverage consistently?
      3. Make sure your drugs are covered. You’ll want to make certain that the plan’s list of covered medications, includes those you take regularly, especially if they are expensive.
      4. Check the network. If you have a primary care physician and specialists you like, be sure they’re in the network of any plan you consider buying. Policies generally cover a lower share of the cost of out-of-network care—or none at all. R&R Insurance can supply you with links to the plan's network of physicians to help you in your decision making.
      5. Know your share of the costs. Plans are required to state how much you’ll pay out-of-pocket, through flat fees called co-pays and through coinsurance, a form of “cost-sharing” in which you pay a percentage of a medical service. Find out whether the out-of-pocket includes the deductible - or is it "in addition to" the deductible?
      6. Coverage for a spouse or dependents? An "individual" plan, again means that it isn't connected to your employer, but it can cover multiple people. Make sure you factor in the needs of your spouse, their age, affordable deductible etc. If you have children under age 26 without health insurance coverage through an employer, the law permits them to be on your insurance. Policies also can no longer exclude kids under age 19 from coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
      7. Walk through several plans. It only takes a few minutes to review the main benefits associated with each plan, and some plans that look appealing at first glance may turn out to have cost-sharing features that could burden you with heavy medical costs.

BONUS SUGGESTION: If you are retiring, always check with your employer to see if it is part of your retirement package, or if your employer offers the option to purchase their health insurance plan to retirees. This a lot of times can be a more affordable option as you settle into retirement. COBRA coverage can also be helpful during your transition phase.

At R&R Insurance, we value your time and your privacy. We will take your call, collect the minimum amount of information necessary to submit a quote, and then review those quotes with you to make sure you fully understand the coverage and the costs. Avoid the hassle of filling out multiple forms online to then be bombarded with email blasts you don't want. We will trust your privacy, get you the right information in a quick and professional manner, and make sure you are covered in the end.

Wisconsin residents contact Donna Wahl, Individual Health Insurance agent for R&R Insurance, or call 1-800-566-7007 to get started on a quote.


Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Reform, health care refrom, Individual Health Insurance, reform, donna wahl