Navigating sole proprietor health insurance options? This article will help you explore coverage solutions tailored to your business needs and ensure your wellness.
You run your own business as a sole proprietor. Which is great, but it also means you have to figure out how to get health care. The right health insurance not only offers a safety net in case of medical emergencies but also ensures ongoing health maintenance.
Today we’re taking a look at some of the sole proprietor health insurance options available, from the intricacies of the Health Insurance Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act to the nuances of private insurance policies. Keep reading to find out more!
Health Insurance for Sole Proprietors
As a sole proprietor, you don’t have a company providing a health plan. Instead, you need to find and pay for your own insurance. This is important because it protects you from high medical costs and helps you stay healthy.
Health insurance for sole proprietors is different from what employees get. You have more choices to make. You need to think about what kind of coverage you want, how much you can pay, and which insurance company to use.
It’s not just about finding the cheapest plan. It’s about finding a plan that covers what you need. For example, some plans cover more types of doctors or medicines than others. Finding the right plan takes time and effort. It can be confusing to understand all the sole proprietor health plans. But it’s worth it.
The Perilous Impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
The Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, has changed the health insurance landscape for all sole proprietors.
Before ACA, if you were self-employed or a sole proprietor, you could purchase a quality sole proprietor plan from many major insurance companies. These plans would cover you, your spouse and your family. But those glory days are gone forever.
However, if you are looking for a sole proprietor health plan – a plan that gives you quality coverage that fits your budget – there are still a few options available. Keep reading to learn more about your health plan options for the self-employed.
The Public Health Exchanges
The Health Insurance Marketplace is a result of the Government trying to get consumers to buy health insurance in a public setting. The marketplace is where health insurance companies compete for your business. The line-up of insurance companies on the marketplace are limited without some of the major players offering health plans or offering plans with reduced networks.
But one of the positive aspects of the Health Insurance Marketplace is insurance companies cannot refuse to cover you if you have a pre-existing health conditions. Another advantage is that The ACA could also help with the cost of your health insurance – if you qualify. Depending on your income, you could get a tax credit or subsidy, which could lower your premiums. This subsidy only applies to plans from the Public Marketplace, not private insurance.
Another thing the ACA does is set rules about what insurance plans must cover. All plans must provide Essential Health Benefits
But many sole proprietors soon find out the public health insurance exchange options have limited coverage. In addition, many plans being offered are not accepted by many doctors and facilities in New York.
Exploring Private Insurance Options
Private insurance is another choice for sole proprietors. This means buying insurance directly from an organization or an association. With private insurance, you might find better plan options.
Employer Association Health Plans
Association plans are group health plans provided by like-minded business owners who want access to quality health insurance coverage.
An Employer Association uses the power of group buying with thousands of members to offer benefits that previously were not available to the self-employed. These plans offer comprehensive coverage that fits your budget without sacrificing quality.
Some of the Insurance companies available are: Anthem Blue Cross, Cigna, Emblem Health and Northwell Health. For more information regarding these sole proprietor health plans follow this link: Sole Proprietor Plans
Small Group Health Insurance
As a sole proprietor you can qualify for a group health plan if you hire an employee – but not your spouse. The employee must be on payroll (W-2) and work at least 20 hours per week. The benefit of having a group health plan is that it will give you more choices for health insurance from some of the top companies in the industry: United Healthcare, Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna and Oscar Health. You can read more about this topic here Option # 2
Health Care Sharing Ministries
Health care sharing ministries or Medical Cost Sharing is a non-profit health care sharing ministry where members make monthly payments that are pooled together to cover the medical expenses of other members. These members are typically folks that share the religious beliefs of the ministries.
Ministries may look like insurance to many consumers, but this tends to be misleading. They aren’t required to cover or pay medical care costs or to follow the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And they are not legally bound to pay claims according to the terms which parties have agreed to follow.
Some Health Care Sharing Ministries are guilty of deceptive marketing and misleading plan features. As a result, some members end up with substantial unpaid medical bills or wind up in debt collection over even small bills that go unpaid by the Ministry.
Health Care Sharing Ministries are not regulated by state insurance agencies or federal agencies. so many disenchanted members are taking legal action against them for deceptive advertising. The bottom line: Health Care Sharing Ministries are cost sharing organizations, not insurance. So, Buyer Beware!
Budgeting for Health Insurance
1 – Tax Deduction – A sole proprietor with no employees can deduct 100 percent of the premiums for health insurance for himself, his spouse and any dependents under the age of 27. However, you cannot be covered by any other health plan, and the premium can’t exceed the profits of the business.
When it comes to health insurance, understanding costs is key. As a sole proprietor, you need to budget for these costs. The main cost is the monthly premium. This is the amount you pay every month for your insurance. But there are other costs too.
2 – Out-of-pocket – These costs are what you pay when you get medical care. This includes deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance. A deductible is what you pay before your insurance starts to pay.
3 – A co-payment is a set amount you pay for a service, like a doctor’s visit. Coinsurance is when you pay a part of the cost of a service. It’s important to think about these costs.
A plan with a low monthly premium might seem cheaper. But it might have high out-of-pocket costs. If you need a lot of medical care, this can end up costing more. On the other hand, a plan with a higher monthly premium might cover more. This can save you money if you go to the doctor often.
Budgeting for health insurance means looking at all these costs. It’s important to compare these things. Look at what each plan covers. Check the costs like premiums and deductibles. Think about how often you need medical care. Also, think about how much you can pay each month.
Get Expert Advice From an Independent Insurance Agent
Selecting the right sole proprietor health insurance is crucial. It’s about finding a balance between coverage and cost.
With the right plan, you can protect your health and your work. This peace of mind lets you focus on what you do best: running your business.
At Health Plans NY, we’ve been helping small business owners save money and improve their group insurance plans since 2005. And we’d love to help you. Get in touch today to find out more!