One thing that I’ve been looking into recently is health insurance. Being over the age of 26, I can’t piggyback on my parents’ health insurance plan. Having most recently worked outside of the U.S., I can’t use the COBRA plan to extend previous health insurance plans.
When you are self-employed, you have a few options. You can
- Remain uninsured
- Find insurance through employment
- Find insurance through your state or the federal program if you have a pre-existing condition
- Buy your own insurance
Buying your own insurance is always an option. Of course, you would expect it to be more expensive than if you had the discount benefits from more subscribers like you get in a company or state- and country-wide plans.
Now, if all the self-employed and small-business owners decided to team up, they could leverage their numbers to get discounts. The National Association for the Self-Employed provides “health benefits” no matter where you are, but this is not proper insurance. Rather, they provide a small percentage discount (10-40%) on the services you subscribe for. If you live in NYC or anywhere in eastern New York state for that matter, you can join the the Freelancers Union and get proper health insurance. Both the NASE and Freelancers Union provide links to finding health insurance on your own no matter where you live outside of what they cover.
(Full disclosure: I joined NASE and signed up for health and dental benefits, at least for the short term, since I am currently unemployed and will be moving to a different state in less than 2 weeks.)
I’m still interested in finding a more proper health insurance. Ideally, I would like full coverage health insurance, but I’ve read in other places that full health insurance coverage can run $300-400 / month. I will revisit this issue later, but About.com’s page on health insurance has been fairly helpful for understanding the basis.
(9/26/11: minor edits for clarity)