For 97% of the world, health care is not an issue. These are individuals who live in countries in which health care is free for all citizens; these are also people who are covered with health insurance by their employers. For the other 3%, however, health insurance is something that must be found and paid for individually. This applies most often to U.S. entrepreneurs and freelancers. For example, Pick Writers specialists.
What the Law Says
Right now, although Congress is in disarray regarding health care and potential new laws, the ACA, or Affordable Care Act, is the law of the land. This is also known as Obamacare. And for freelance translators in the U.S., there are some very important “rules” that will apply:
- There is an individual mandate – this means that you must buy health insurance or pay a fine on your taxes each year.
- If you are still under 26, you can stay on your parents’ health insurance plan. The year you turn 26, however, you must buy your own policy.
- There are individual insurance markets that you can access online through the ACA website. Here you can plug in your information and get quotes from a number of insurance companies
- If you fall below certain income levels, you will qualify for subsidies, that is, the ACA plan will pay some of your premiums for you – this is a huge benefit for freelancers who are just starting out and have low income.
Will This All Change?
It could, depending on Congress. There is a huge debate going on right now. Many congressmen and Senators would like to replace Obamacare, but they cannot agree on what that replacement should look like. So far, all of their proposals have failed.
But President Trump is not yet willing to call it quits. He wants Congress to get back to work on a replacement, and is applying pressure for them to do this.
You will need to stay informed of any changes that might occur, because it will affect the type of health insurance you buy and the amount you pay for it.
Details of Your Need
As you think about what type of health insurance you may need, consider all of the following;
- How much reserve do you have? This will determine what kind of deductible you choose – the amount you pay before your insurance picks up the costs. The larger deductible you choose, the less your insurance will cost.
- What kind of coverage do you want? Do you want just hospitalization? If so, your insurance will only cover expenses if you are admitted to the hospital.
- Do you want major medical coverage? This type of plan will pay for doctor’s and lab visits when you are not in the hospital. You can also choose a co-pay – the amount you will pay toward each of these out-patient care types.
- Pre-Existing conditions: Right now, your health insurance cannot be raised because you have a pre-existing condition, such as diabetes. This may change, if newer laws are passed. You need to stay on top of any changes that are made.
Health insurance is really not an option. You can never know when and illness or an accident will befall you. Not only will you have medical bills, but you may be laid up for a while and unable to work. You may want to also consider some type of supplemental insurance that will pay you a daily amount during the course of your inability to work.
There are also disability policies that some freelancers buy. While they are expensive, they can provide an income if you suffer a longer-term situation and are unable to work. Most pay between 60-80% of your average income over the past three years at the time of purchase.
Do not ignore the need for health insurance. Analyze you needs and buy accordingly. Not having health insurance should not be an option.