Disclaimer: I’m no health insurance expert. I just wanted to share what I have found over the years! Always consult an expert in the field! I also have no children or special medical conditions, so again – this advice is not for everyone.

Heyyy, self-employed (or WANT to be self-employed) friends – this is for you. Let’s talk about health insurance. My in real life not-internet friends and I have discussed this a few times…were your parents VERY into having health insurance?

Maybe you discussed a gap year after college and they were like “what would you do without health insurance though? You can’t!”

Or in college, you only needed 6 credits that final semester to graduate but you took a whole course load because you needed 12 credits to stay on their insurance?

Or maybe you or the spouse is staying at a corporate job just to keep the insurance? Maybe you are going with your boyfriend/girlfriend to the courthouse for a marriage license just to get on their insurance?

And maybe you don’t know what to do being self-employed – how do you even GET insurance? Is that even a thing?! (This is one of the questions I’m asked the MOST when people find out I own a small business. It’s a mystery!) We certainly didn’t learn about health insurance in school.

^^I’ve been there before, before I was self-employed. Because getting a broken leg or appendicitis can bankrupt you if you don’t have insurance. And I grew up on my parents’ insurance of course, then I was on my late husband’s insurance. And then I just had to sit down and figure some stuff out when I was widowed and this was one of the things I researched.

It’s clear for a lot of people that health insurance needs to change in this country – I think everyone can agree on that, regardless of political beliefs!

I also have a lot of clients who are in the medical profession and of course I support them and their right to be paid fairly for all their training and expertise! I’m in awe of them and I want them to make the money they deserve.

There’s a few takeaways here, but as a self-employed person, my biggest shift was changing the way I thought about health insurance personally – from using it as essentially an “everything should be covered” concept to using it as I would car insurance – I use health insurance as a way to keep from going bankrupt. So I personally (as a relatively health individual now with no chronic conditions) look for a very low premium, just as I do with car insurance.

Everyone’s opinion is different on this. I don’t personally use my car insurance for a scratch or a dent – I fix it myself and just pay or leave it alone on my car. I view my insurance as the same way – little stuff, I am okay with paying for – a co-pay for urgent care here, a prescription there. I’m trying to insure myself for a major medical event – if I get hit by a bus, break my leg skiing, or get appendicitis. Those $3000+ events.

Open enrollment comes around every year in November-January. (You can also enroll other times with a life changing event like job loss, marriage, etc. and I’m pretty sure when I purchased my own insurance, I could just call up and get some at any time, honestly as I was on COBRA and there is such a thing as interim insurance. So it’s worth a shot to try now and not just say “well, I have to wait til November – hope I don’t fall on the icy Pittsburgh streets before then!”)

My advice – get a health insurance broker. I got mine via Dave Ramsey. An ELP – Endorsed Local Provider – are required by Dave Ramsey to have the heart of a teacher and explain things to you and walk you through it!

https://healthtrustfinancial.com/ (who I went with)
https://www.daveramsey.com/elp/health-insurance (where I found him)

But just go to Dave Ramsey’s website and look up an ELP for health insurance. They can shop rates for you and present options from multiple insurers. (Is this Obamacare? you might ask. It is not – because I found the numbers given to me by brokers to be far superior to the ACA plans – but those are also an option and I do encourage you to check the ACA website especially if you qualify for a subsidy! I just like having the broker explain everything to me as well!)

I didn’t understand co insurance, co payment, deductible, etc and he explained it all to me very carefully and told me the one he felt I should go with!

Disclaimer: Your deductible and choices are individual to you. This article also doesn’t cover HSA’s (health savings accounts etc) because that’s a whole other ball of wax.

Real talk and real numbers: it’s just me on my plan. I pay less than $200 per month. Is my deductible high? YEP – I chose that for myself because for me, I’d rather have a lower premium each month – run the math with a broker.          Does that mean I pay the first $3-10k out of pocket before it would cover ANYTHING?!!! (“that sounds horrible!!!”) Nope – I had my broker explain everything to me and that’s thankfully not how it works – it’s confusing, but the chance of me having to pay that in a year is small and only for a major illness/issue/injury – which I’ve had only once in 8 years, thankfully.

And for you Pittsburgh people, I went with something that’s not UPMC or AHN, so I can go almost anywhere!

There’s a learning curve to it, but about 2 years in, you’ll have the hang of it, I’ve even price shopped and negotiated things, and you can do it too! I needed a test that wasn’t covered by insurance and it wasn’t urgent. I got a few recommendations, called around, and found the best and lowest deal.

So that’s my PSA on how it all works. I know some people can’t afford it and no shame if you don’t have health insurance – but if you want it, this is what I suggest doing and I hope it saves you some researching time!

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