Famous 19th century humorist, Josh Billings, stated, “Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.”
This is a sound saying for the solopreneur. A prolonged illness is probably the worst occurrence that could happen to a solopreneur. A solopreneur is his business. Not being able to work is challenging. Not having a health care plan can be a disaster.
Before you get started, make a list of your medical needs and finances you have available. Costs for medical care will vary based upon your needs, your age and pre-existing conditions. Knowing what basic needs that you want to cover will help decide the right coverage for you – and the best possible price.
There are several options that you have for health care coverage.
Does a working spouse have a health plan? This is probably the easiest and cheapest solutions.
Group Health Coverage
Three primary places to look for group health plans (yes, individual can qualify for group plans) are through insurance companies, business organizations and associations. Many insurance companies realize that there are a growing number of self-employed people who lack coverage. Your local Chamber of Commerce will generally offer group plan discounts to its members. Sometimes other associations within your industry offer plans, too.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires that companies having a group health insurance plan with 20 or more employees offer a continuation of their benefits to enrolled employees after they leave. So if you are at the stage of making the leap from employee to solopreneur, check into your current company’s COBRA benefits.
This is going to be the most costly solution – but, it still should cost you less than the medical bills for hospital visits and extended care costs without insurance.
To find the right policy, you can go through one of the following sources:
- Talk with an insurance broker.
- Contact one of the major health insurance providers direct (i.e. Blue Cross Blue Shield).
- Do a search on the Internet.
- Check with any business organizations or associations that you belong to.
- Check with the National Association for the Self Employed (NASE).
- Speak with doctors that you want covered and find out what plans they accept.
- Check with your state’s Health Care Cost Containment System for their benefits.
Other options outside of insurance policies are Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) similar to Aflac and Medical Discount Cards (MDCs). These are ways to help you save for medical expenses when a high deductible health plan won’t cover the costs or if you don’t have an insurance policy at all.
The last option is to go without insurance. Even if you don’t have health insurance, you should have a plan. Locate the urgent care facilities in your area. Research the doctors in your area that are fed up with insurance companies and offer fee-for-service programs. They will either bill a flat fee or by the minute.
The key is to be well prepared with a plan. You never know when you may be stricken with an injury or illness. Having a health care plan can not only save you possibly thousands of dollars in expenses, it can save your business.
All The Best,
The Solopreneur’s Guide