Health Insurance for the Self-Employed


As I mentioned previously, among other things, failing the quals and being kicked out of the program has left me suddenly without health insurance after the end of this month.  For the summer, I have work lined up, but it is without benefits.  After that, I hope to be able to work for Husband’s company, which would make us both self-employed.  (For stability, I’ll get a real job if we don’t have a solid amount of funds in the company account).  After I found on e-health insurance that a medical plan with prescription (and maternal) coverage for Husband and I combined would run $700 a month,  Sara from Yellow Ibis shared with me this great NYTimes article on finding health insurance for the self-employed.

From the article I found this great resource, healthinsuranceinfo.net, which is hosted by the Georgetown health policy institute.  From there, you can get a free state-specific consumer guide on getting and keeping health insurance.  I haven’t completely delved through my state’s guide yet, but I’m glad I found this great resource!

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9 thoughts on “Health Insurance for the Self-Employed

  1. There should be some kind of continuation coverage for you through your university. I mean, you were, in essence fired. My university has something called Cobra and it will cover you for 18-36 months depending for a monthly cost of $109 individual or $450 for a family. Talk to your university. I also just read, “If you are terminated for gross misconduct, you may be able to continue under the New York State Continuation of Coverage Law.” You weren’t grossly misconducting but this law may help you.

  2. Hey, no problem! The article is good, but also check out the comments on both the article and also the blog post mentioned in the article, you can see a lot of personal stories and tips. Unfortunately, like I said, NY is particularly difficult.

    I don’t know your connections to NY but if you have a way to leave the state, it would make a huge number of financial issues more reasonable, including health insurance, other insurance, cost of living, etc. Also doing business in the state isn’t really easiest or cheapest either.

    Re COBRA insurance, the problem is that it’s usually way too much money, because you have to pay both your own cost as before *plus* the employer’s cost, which effectively doubles it. Generally it’s prohibitively expensive. COBRA is not a set rate, it’s just the opportunity to stay on your previous plan provided that you absorb all fees.

    Rather than have no health insurance at all in the meantime though, it’s still worth considering a short-term accident only for a month or two until you figure things out. There are only one or two insurers that offer anything decent, you will probably find them quickly on Google, I think one of them might be AIG.

  3. Haha. We’re not planning to leave NY unless it’s for another country or San Francisco. Our love for and addiction to NYC is enough that we’re willing to pay the extra cost of living here! I adore this city, and so does my husband, who has never lived anywhere else.

    We’ll definitely be figuring out a way to get a decent plan for July and after. If the next investment for Husband’s company comes through, we’ll have the company provide health insurance for us. If it doesn’t come through, Husband will need to go get a job anyhow, and he’ll look for one with benefits. This may leave me without health insurance for June, but unfortunately, there are so many things we can’t afford for June I don’t see us shelling out even $300 for catastrophic coverage just for the one month.

  4. Coming up on the pre-employment summer, I’m going for the short-term Blue Cross coverage, which covers nothing in day-to-day healthcare but would save us from bankruptcy if anything bad did happen. Since we’re generally healthy and will be on “real” health insurance in the fall, I’m willing to play the odds for a few months. You can get that for about $50/monthly depending on the deductable. We did look into COBRA as well, and it’s ridiculously expensive.

  5. Actually, it is still playing the odds. If you take a high deductible major medical / accident, it will cover ‘most’ of a major event (say, $40k +) but there are a lot of things that can happen that would still cost thousands in total, yet end up coming in just over the deductible once the dust settles. You have to really read the fine print and be clear on the coverage and what your risk tolerance is. For example, HSA plans usually cover nothing ‘typical’ and everything falls under the deductible, whereas a traditional insurance plan will actually pay for ‘office visit’ type of issues/procedures as well as basic prescriptions, and that’s separate from the deductible.

    In general, however, some ridiculously high proportion of bankrupcies in the US are caused by medical events, so if nothing else it’s important to make sure you’re covered if something really big or unexpected happens.

  6. Well, sure, but I was just kind of kidding about it since we’ve been playing the odds that Husband won’t be denied care or that we won’t end up bankrupt over sudden hospital bills for nearly 3 of the 4 years I’ve been with Husband. I know this is very unwise of us but we’ve done it for a while so I’m dulled to the shock about risk levels we undertake. In comparison, having catastrophic coverage doesn’t seem that risky.

  7. Hmm, 350 is more than I would have expected! Though states vary. And we’re going for the cheapest thing we can find. Catastrophic coverage would be my minimum requirement, too…I can see how having more would be a bonus and not a necessity, particularly after going without. Friggin healthcare system. Good luck to you while looking for good benefits!

  8. Yeah, I imagine it’s a combination of what state we’re in and our health status. We do both have a history of various health problems. Once, I was even denied life insurance because of it! (Haven’t tried to get life insurance again since then, but we will eventually try that again.)

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