As freelancers, we are stuck with "individual" policies which are OK but not great. For the same money, a group policy is always better but it's very difficult to find a "group" to join. My new policy is $658 per month for me alone. Start doing your research in your state for what's available. Never ever be without health or disability insurance!
In my opinion, this is the BIGGEST drawback to being an independent contractor. Expect to shop like crazy, get totally confused, pay an arm and a leg, then still get screwed on coverage. Yep, that's the nicest way I can put it. Then, DON'T GET SICK!!!!!!!!!!!
Where do you live? I'm pretty sure that in California Kaiser is the cheapest. Since I rarely go to a doctor, I have a health savings account for me and my kids. For the three of us it's $450 a month. Preventative visits and vaccines are free. I pay full price for everything else until I reach my deductible, which I think is $5,000 a year.
If you are healthy and young it's much more affordable. If you have health problems, it's very expensive. It gets more expensive as you get older.
I'm paying $623 per month for a PPO (BlueCross/BlueShield). However, I am in the process of changing to an HSA (Health Savings Account). Everything is based on your age, of course, initially.
I am pretty healthy -- knock on wood -- and I don't use my medical insurance very often, if at all. I just have it in case of a major medical illness.
I was thinking about dropping down to an HMO, which would be cheaper. However, after spending hours online and studying the medical insurance available to me, I am going to go with a $2,700-deductible HSA (Health Savings Account). It will cost me $188 per month.
One drawback to the HSA is that you must pay out $2,700 per year before the insurance kicks in. Also, there is a lifetime $3-million cap. My PPO that I have now, there is no lifetime cap. As we all know, the medical insurance companies make it up as they go along and could easily kick me out or raise my premiums to a level I could not afford if they want to.
On a good note, you are allowed one physical and mammogram each year with the HSA. It will not come out of your deductible.
Another consideration about medical insurance is that it is 100-percent deductible when you file your taxes. I have thought long and hard about this, and I hope I am not making a mistake by going with the HSA. I think it is a good option at this time in my life, however.
Does anybody else on here have an HSA? I would love to hear the pros and cons about it.
Since you're in NY, call my broker and you might be able to get into a group plan. When you have an individual policy, you pay 50% of the retail cost of any prescription. Most prescriptions are fairly cheap so it's NBD. But some prescriptions are sky-high. If that's the case, you want a plan where you pay a co-pay for each prescription, $30 or $50, for instance. Otherwise with an individual policy, you have no choice but to pay 50%, which could be exhorbitant and MUCH more expensive than a co-pay.
Helen Altman-Felsher, MBA
HAF Insurance & Financial Services
Phone/Fax: (203) 445-1467
Thank you Marge! I am definitely going to call her. I still have insurance through my father, which I don't want him to pay for anymore...but I also just rented an apartment so I'm going to wait a big until I start making more of a steady income to call her! Thanks so much, I really preesh it! LOL
The HSA has been a great choice for me. I was worried about the prescriptions because I have no coverage. I've had to get a few over the couple of years I've been on it, and I was surprised how affordable Kaiser's meds are. Only one was expensive. Personally, I'd rather take a bit of a gamble on having to spend some money rather than paying hundreds of dollars a month for something I rarely use. And I'm safe if something big happens. Vaccines are all free, which would be the biggest expense.
I needed to go with the most affordable per month, which is the HSA.