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Self Employed Health Insurance

Here are some important things that you should know if you are self employed and looking for health insurance:

1. Know the fundamental difference between group health insurance and individual health insurance. Many make the mistake in thinking that group health insurance is cheaper than individual health insurance because after all you are buying it in bulk, right? Wrong. The criteria for being approved for individual health insurance is much more stringent than the group health insurance plan that you were given (probably automatically) through your employer. Most insurance companies will look back as far as 10 years into your health history when underwriting for an individual health insurance policy. This is why individual health insurance is almost always a great deal cheaper than group health insurance – the insurance company gets to pick and choose who they will accept on the individual health insurance side of things where on the group side if a co-worker has cancer or diabetes or major health problems they are still given coverage. You are in a sense subsidizing the cost of all of the unhealthy people if you are a healthy member of a group plan.

2. Find out if you will be eligible for COBRA continuation coverage after you make the leap. You can do this by contacting your company’s HR or insurance department. (Hint: Most companies with over 20 employees will have COBRA continuation options available to you as long as you have not had an extended lapse in coverage and have managed to keep yourself from being fired for “gross negligence”).

3. Find out if your new company will meet your state’s requirements to have its own small business group health plan. For many states, the minimum number of full time workers that is needed to form a group is 2 and in some states, most notably Florida, there are certain times of the year when even sole proprietors can form a “group of one” group health plan.

4. Take advantage of the tax benefits that come with being self employed. Whether you choose an individual health insurance plan or a small business health insurance plan or even continue your COBRA coverage – if you have self employed earned income you will be able to deduct 100% of your health insurance premiums for you (and your family if applicable) all the way up to your net schedule C income minus ½ of your self employment tax. This is much better than the schedule A deduction that everyone who itemizes receives as there is no 7.5% of AGI floor but is rather an direct deduction against your schedule C income (Note however, that you cannot use the self employed health insurance deduction to take a business loss though).

5. Know your goals for your company. If you are healthy and would have no problem getting individual health insurance in the open market and you just anticipate having a small one man shop then individual health insurance is most likely the way to go for you – be sure and apply for the coverage a month or two before you leave your job and just have the coverage become effective the day that you cancel your group health plan. However, if you have some health issues that would prevent you from obtaining individual health coverage or maybe you anticipate having a much larger company in the very near future then maybe a group health plan or a medical reimbursement type approach is the way to go as health benefits can be a very strong way to attract future employees.

6. Do your comparison shopping. It is amazing to see the number of people that will just take the first plan that they happen to hear of. Talk to a trusted independent agent or financial advisor that can work with multiple insurance companies and help you compare rates and features but don’t waste too much time on the whole process. Take advantage of the Internet’s price transparency and compare free health insurance quotes using our free health insurance quote finder at the top of the page.

Simply enter in your zip code to comparison shop rates from multiple insurance companies offering coverage in your zip code. Get started finding health insurance now!