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How to get health insurance as a freelancer

If you’re working remotely from home, you might think that health insurance as a freelancer is not a necessity. On the contrary, healthcare is extremely important–no matter what type of work you do and where you do it from. This makes freelancer insurance a necessity for anyone doing solo work when it comes to managing medical expenses.

This article will help define what freelancer insurance exactly is, explain key terms, and provide you with the best options so you can make an informed decision. Keep reading to find out more about freelancer health insurance.

What is self-employed health insurance?

According to a 2019 report, over 44 million Americans are self-employed. And this number continues to rise every day, with a lot of people quitting their full-time jobs to enter the freelancing market. The topic of finding the right insurance for freelancers therefore has also become very central to the conversation. But what exactly is freelancer health insurance, and how can you get it?

Firstly, it would be better to explain the different types of insurance you can get.

  1. Government insurance: One of the most commonly known types, this kind of insurance is where all your costs are paid for by your local government.
  2. Employment insurance: This is a type of insurance that is provided and paid for you by the company you work for (employer).
  3. Private insurance: This is a kind of insurance that can be bought from private insurance companies individually. Private insurances don’t include any government benefits and usually cover basic healthcare needs.

Health insurance for self employed professionals can be counted as a separate branch of private insurance. For this option, you still have to pay the coverage fee yourself, but you’re identified as an employer, which is why freelancer health insurance options are different from full-time workers’ insurance plans.

How to choose your health insurance as a freelancer

Having to go through too many options for freelancer health insurance can be extremely overwhelming, not to mention the problem of not knowing any specifics. Which is why trying to find the right self employed health insurance can cause stress and financial anxiety for independent professionals.

There are many factors that can significantly alter which freelancer health insurance is the best fit for you. Some important things to consider while choosing your medical insurance plan are:

  • Your personal budget,
  • Location-based options and limitations,
  • Doctor’s visits and frequencies,
  • Options for additional ‘wellness perks’ (such as gym memberships, consultations, etc.)
  • Inclusion of family members,
  • Prescription drug coverage,
  • Mental health coverage,
  • Inclusion of chronic illness treatments,
  • Eligibility for government aid, etc.

Make sure to research and evaluate all of these factors before you make a final decision.

Terms you need to know

There are specific terms included in almost all insurance policies, so knowing what they stand for can be a lifesaver.

Here is a 9-point list of key terms that can help you make a more informed decision when it comes to freelancer health insurance:

  • Insurance premium: The amount you have to pay to your insurance company in order to receive healthcare coverage. You can think of this as being synonymous with insurance cost.
  • Quote: The insurance company’s estimate of how much your health insurance will cost. Think of your insurance quote as an initial offer that details your plan and what it will cover. This  can be adjusted according to your needs.
  • Deductible: The fixed yearly amount you pay towards your insurance before you can receive any healthcare benefits.
  • Copay: The fixed rate you pay after each doctor’s visit, receiving medication, going to the emergency room, etc.
  • Policy tenure: The duration of your insurance coverage.
  • Policy jacket: A brochure-like document that details your insurance policy, what it covers, etc. Similar to a contract, it should be read carefully before committing to a plan.
  • Rider: Optional additions you can make to your basic insurance policy to cover extra situations, illnesses, etc.
  • Exclusion: The cases and special instances where you don’t get coverage from your insurance.
  • Free-look period: An initial short duration where you can cancel your new insurance plan without paying an extra fee.

Comparing your choices

Now that you know more about how health insurance plans work, it’s time to compare your choices and make your decision!

As a freelancing professional, the most important part is to know your personal requirements and how they can be met by your healthcare package. The right health insurance for freelance writers and artists can look vastly different, for example.

Always keep in mind that different plans are meant to serve different needs. You’re the best person to decide on the right freelancer health insurance plan for yourself. Reading the fine print on all options you’re considering is also very helpful. Be sure that you have eligibility to apply and take advantage of the offers.

How do freelancers get health insurance?

Since there are many health insurance options for self employed workers, it can be confusing if you don’t know where to start.

Insurance for US residents

The easiest way to start is to go through your options based on location. For example, if you’re an US resident and citizen, you can make use of the Health Insurance Marketplace to find and apply to different plans.

The options in HIM are in four different tiers that change depending on your family size, total monthly cost, etc. Through the Marketplace, you can also find out if you are eligible for certain programs, such as Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). Make sure you don’t miss the open enrollment period so you can easily obtain your freelancer health insurance.

Other popular routes for US-based freelance workers include joining their partner’s life insurance plan, or checking if they have COBRA eligibility.

In other locations

If you’re in the EU or otherwise, healthcare and insurance options can greatly vary depending on your exact country and location. It would be best to do local research about government-provided options and/or consult a private freelancer insurance company before you reach a final settlement. Non-profit groups like the Freelancers Union also have very useful resources that can help you find the right medical insurance for the self employed.

A great option to find affordable health insurance for self employed workers, no matter where you are, is Ruul’s newest partner: Insured Nomads. Their different health and travel insurance options all have global validity and can cover all your healthcare needs in many different circumstances. You can use their coverage guide to calculate your personal needs and costs, and see how they can help your solo business thrive without medical anxiety. Not to mention that you will get a very special discount if you register with Ruul!

There are many resources and options available for medical insurance in the remote work industry. If you’re on the lookout for health insurance, make sure you’re familiar with the process, know the basic terms, and can choose the right plan for yourself based on your location, budget, etc. Good luck on the rest of your journey!

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Ceylin Güven
Ceylin Güven likes reading anything she can get her hands on, writing poetry that’s way too personal, and watching Studio Ghibli movies.

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