Doctor coat

Buying Health Insurance: Advice for freelancers and those going it alone

One of my first tasks as a freelancer and was to find myself some health insurance. When I set out on my own several years ago, I went without for a long time. As irresponsible as that is, I really thought I was going to find a corporate position that would just give me health insurance.

I need health insurance for a couple of reasons: medication and office visits are expensive, and I go to the doctor on a regular basis because of migraines, and the new healthcare law would require me to get health insurance in a few months anyway or I would have to pay a fee. On top of that, I was uninsured for over a year, and it’s scary. I need fewer things to be anxious about, not more.

So, while I am able to get insurance through my husband’s company this time around, I wanted to share some things that I learned when looking for health insurance:

Use your resources

There are a lot of resources out there, you just have to use them. Although the health care marketplace is only open during certain times of the year (barring a life change), there are plenty of health insurance aggregators that will help you look up and find the plan that will fit your needs. I used, and found a plan pretty quickly.

Also, there are even stand-alone agencies that will help you find insurers that will work for you. If you have one of these in your area, call them up, walk in, see what they are all about. You may find a cheaper plan there.

With ObamaCare, all bets are off

And that’s a good thing for you, as a consumer. My migraines were considered a pre-existing condition, and under the old laws, I wouldn’t be eligible for insured care or prescriptions for a full year. With the new healthcare law, pre-existing condition clauses go out the window.

What does this mean? Beginning January 1, 2014, health insurance plans started covering my office visits and medication for migraines.

In addition, the new health plans are already covering well-care visits like physicals and well-woman visits.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Ultimately, you are product that will earn money for the insurance agencies. If you are healthy, they earn money, and they want your business! Ask questions up front, especially if there is language in the riders (contracts) that you don’t understand. It’s the agency’s job to try to make that clear to you, and it’s your job to try to understand it before you pay a dime.

The insurance agencies want you to buy their insurance

These guys are practically giving insurance away! My vision insurance plan was approved in two days, and I doubt they checked with any of my doctors because I never gave them my doctor’s name.

Dental insurance was about the same. They never asked for the dentist’s name, where I would assume the agency would find my dental records. Wouldn’t they want to know if I needed a full set of dentures in the next two years?

Has anyone had similar or different experiences with the healthcare marketplace?

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