This article will explore options available for health insurance for freelancers in California.
In recent years, the gig economy has experienced significant growth, with more and more people opting for flexible work arrangements and becoming independent contractors or freelancers. This shift in how people work offers increased autonomy and a flexible schedule.
However, one critical challenge gig workers face is access to affordable individual health insurance. This month, we explore what options are available for freelancers and gig workers in the Golden State.
The Challenge of Health Insurance for Freelancers
Affordability is one of the main challenges freelancers face when it comes to health insurance. Unlike traditional employment, where employers often subsidize a portion of health insurance premiums through group health insurance plans, freelancers are responsible for the total cost of their coverage.
This can be especially difficult for freelancers with inconsistent incomes or those who experience periods of unemployment between gigs.
Inadequate Coverage Options
Freelancers may also face challenges finding comprehensive individual health insurance plans that meet their needs. Between plans that exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions or have limited coverage networks, finding health insurance for freelancers can indeed seem overwhelming.
Understanding Health Insurance Options for Gig Workers
Fortunately, several options are available to ensure that California’s independent contractors and gig workers have access to healthcare. Here are a few:
California’s Medicaid Program
Freelancers with low incomes may qualify for California’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal. Your eligibility for this program is dependent on criteria such as your household size and income levels.
However, many Californians eligible for Medi-Cal during the COVID-19 pandemic have recently lost their Medicaid coverage as part of the nationwide Medicaid Rewind. They have been left without health coverage for themselves and their families. The New York Times reports that the number of individuals losing coverage in California could reach 2.8 million.
You Might Like: Losing Medi-Cal? What Californians Need to Know
ACA Health Insurance for Freelancers
Another option available for health insurance for gig workers in California is to get coverage during the open enrollment period ending January 31, 2024 (or special enrollment period if you have a qualifying life event) for Obamacare.
Access to California’s ACA Marketplace is through Covered California. Through the application process, independent contractors and gig workers can access health coverage that includes premium tax credits and guaranteed minimum coverage standards.
Private Health Insurance Options Outside of the ACA
A third option for health insurance for freelancers in California is to purchase a policy from a private insurer. There are both advantages and disadvantages to purchasing a policy on your own.
One of the most significant advantages is the absence of open enrollment deadlines. With no restrictions on when you can secure insurance for yourself or your loved ones, you can get coverage whenever you need it during the year.
No income requirements exist for those seeking coverage, whether individuals or families.
Because policies purchased outside of the ACA do not need to adhere to those regulations, there may be a broader range of benefits and options for cost-sharing involved in these plans.
Conversely, health insurance policies obtained independently of the Exchange might impose restrictions based on pre-existing medical conditions.
Your insurance may not include preventative healthcare and vital services like maternity care or prescription drug coverage.
There could also be caps, either annually or over a lifetime, on what the insurance will cover for specific treatments.
With a broader range of choices, careful research is critical to getting individual health insurance for freelancers that meet their health and budgetary needs.
Where Can California Independent Contractors and Gig Workers Get Help Selecting Health Insurance?
Navigating the complex landscape of health insurance for freelancers can be overwhelming for even the savviest independent contractors and gig workers. That’s where independent health insurance brokers, like Preferred Insurance California, can play a crucial role.
Independent health insurance brokers specialize in individual and family health insurance plans, both within and outside the ACA, and group health insurance plans for small businesses. They have the knowledge and expertise to guide freelancers through the process, helping them find the most affordable and flexible health insurance options that suit their needs.
As the word “independent” suggests, these professionals are not tied to any one insurer, so they have access to options for health insurance you may have never even heard of. But the best part, especially for freelancers who sometimes have uncertain income coming in, is that working with these brokers is free of charge. You will not pay a single cent for their help and experience. That’s a win-win scenario!
Are you ready to explore the options for individual health insurance for freelancers in California? Schedule your free consultation with Preferred Insurance California today.