Blogging has many perks. Sadly employee provided health care doesn’t happen to be one of them. Most probloggers (and other freelance writers) need to figure out how to get health care on their own. it’s a daunting prospect, especially if in the past, you’ve had a nice tidy health care plan from your employer. When I was gainfully employed outside of my home I actually had full medical AND dental – in fact when I had my son the entire labor/birth experience cost me all of $10 or so because my insurance was so comprehensive – ah, the good ol’ days.
Now I have to pay for all of my own health care and because my ex gets shady coverage at his job we also have to pay for my son’s health care. Frustrating!
You do need health insurance though. If you happen to get sick it’ll cost you big time without it and kids especially can rack up huge medical costs even if you only consider their annual checkups. Here are some ideas…
Get on your partner’s plan: I’m not suggesting you go out and get married just for the health insurance, but man, if your partner has decent insurance you’re really lucky. If you’re part of a twosome see if it’s possible for you to get coverage through your partner; often even common-law partners can get insurance this way and kids too. However, this isn’t always your best option. As noted above, my ex has total bunk insurance (his employer is lame). While he can get our son covered with his plan it’d be a good $100 above what private insurance costs us. My point – shop around before you choose a plan. Just because it’s employer offered doesn’t mean it’s a good (or cheap) plan.
College health care: If you’re in school or just graduated you can often get health care through your college. The problem here is that I’ve never seen a college plan that also covers kids (there may be though). Check with your University or look up your school at GradMed to see if they offer a plan.
Join your local Chamber of Commerce: My local Chamber of Commerce here in Oregon does offer decent looking health care but they have a loophole I don’t fit – you have to have 2-99 employees to apply. Since I’m just me this does me no good; not unless I hire someone. However, your chamber may offer coverage for a single business owner so it doesn’t hurt to check.
Use your old insurance: If you’ve recently quit a job to freelance you may be eligible for continued coverage through your old job for a certain amount of time. The downside is that this can be more costly than buying new insurance on an individual plan so again shop around.
Join an organization for writers: I don’t belong to any writers organizations and thus don’t have any personal experience with health care programs through them. What I hear though is that many writers organizations do offer some form of health care coverage so you may want to look into it.
If you’re super poor: Many of us have been in situations where we’re low on cash and there’s NO way possible that we can afford health insurance of any kind, no matter how cheap. If this is the boat you’re sailing right now, first of all know that if you work hard and work smart things can and usually will get better. One day you will have enough for health insurance. Secondly, if you or your kids get sick now, me saying things will perk up eventually doesn’t help one bit. What you can do is look for low-cost and free health care services. These aren’t good long-term solutions by any means, but in a pinch, at least you can try to get the care you need. I wrote a long post elsewhere about low-cost and free health care resources so check it out – oh and don’t be discouraged by the “pregnancy term” that was my slant at the time, but the post offers resources for everyone.
What I ended up doing…
Shop individual plans: What I did was simply shop around the many insurance plans out there. To make it easier (there are a ton of choices) I looked at health care providers I already had experience with. For example, at one of my jobs I had health care through a company I really liked, so I looked up their individual plans which yes, cost more than when my employer was picking up part of the tab for group insurance, but in my opinion the health care plans offered were affordable enough to manage; even with my son in the mix. Choosing an individual plan is a lengthy topic though, so I’ll be back with some tips later.
You tell me now – do you currently have health care? What sort of plan do you use AND do you have any other health insurance suggestions for freelancers and bloggers?
[image via stock.xchng]