The information in this article is up to date through tax year 2019 (taxes filed in 2020).
There are many rewarding aspects to freelancing – setting your schedule, being your own boss, working wherever you want, etc. But dealing with health insurance without the aid of an employer is not one of them. Luckily, you do have healthcare options at your disposal. Here are a few choices to consider.
Join a Family Member’s Plan
If you’re married and your spouse works for an employer that provides health insurance, you can easily add yourself to your spouse’s plan, usually at no cost or an additional premium. If you’re not legally married but share the same home as your partner and live a domestic life, you may qualify for domestic partner coverage as long as you’re not married to someone else.
For freelancers under 26, joining your parent’s insurance plan as a dependent might be your best choice, but make sure to weigh other options, too. It may cost less for you to have your own insurance than to join your parent’s plan.
Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – was created to ensure millions of Americans have access to health insurance, and freelancers are no exception. You can get coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, a federally operated service that helps you find affordable plans in your area. It’ll also find out if you qualify for premium tax credits and other savings. To be eligible to use the Marketplace, you must:
- Live in the United States
- Be a U.S. citizen or national
- Not be incarcerated
If you’re currently working for an employer and planning to make a transition into the freelance world, you should try to take advantage of COBRA – or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Passed by Congress in 1986, COBRA has a rule that when you leave a company where you had health insurance, your company must extend your coverage for up to 18 months. This option gives you some time while you find other health coverage outside your employer.
The Freelancers Union
The Freelancers Unions used to only offer health insurance plans in a few states, but now, it’s provided on a national scale. They also offer dental, life and other insurance plans. It’s completely free to sign up for the union, and they provide plenty of valuable resources to help you get a better understanding of healthcare coverage.
High-Deductible Insurance Plan + Health Savings Account
In a high-deductible insurance plan, your monthly premium is typically lower, but you pay more in healthcare costs. These plans are usually reserved for emergencies, not regular treatment. That’s why most people who have a high-deductible insurance plan pair it with a health savings account (HSA). An HSA is a tax-protected account that allows you to set aside money for covering qualified healthcare expenses. HSAs are tax-deductible, too, so you can potentially save thousands on your tax bill.
Once you have your health insurance figured out, it’s time to make sure your taxes are under control. At TaxSlayer, we offer a tax preparation service designed for self-employed individuals. We make it easy for you to prepare your taxes, find deductions and receive advice from a tax professional – all at an unbeatable price.