Many individuals are surprised that a private health care plan costs so much more than the plan they had at their previous job. When a company of any size offers its employees benefits, it will organize with an insurance company to get a group discount.
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Health Insurance Options for Freelancers

One of the most difficult aspects of being a freelancer is finding health insurance. Those who are newly self-employed may never have purchased their own health insurance before, and some are taken by surprise by the high cost of keeping a family insured.

There are options for freelancers, but the process may take some time. It is wise to shop around thoroughly and compare the pros and cons of each plan available. Which plan to choose is reliant on a number of factors unique to the individual applying, so they should carefully weigh their options and needs so their health insurance does not become a burden on their new business.

Differences from Group Health Plans

Many individuals are surprised that a private health care plan costs so much more than the plan they had at their previous job. When a company of any size offers its employees benefits, it does it in part to supplement salaries and make their organization more desirable to quality workers. The business will organize with an insurance company to get a group discount for enrolling all of their employees in the program.

This kind of group program means everyone has the same rates regardless of their age or condition, as compared to an individual insurance program where each person gets rates specific for them. Additionally, in a group plan, any rate changes or increases take affect for the group as a whole each year, and any one individual's rates will not change by itself.

This group rate is usually significantly lower than most independent insurance rates, and as an added benefit, the employee usually only has to pay part of it. Many companies supplement the cost of an employee's plan by paying a certain percentage of the fee themselves. The rest of the cost is deducted directly from their paycheck.

Using COBRA

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in order to revise and add new federal labor laws. COBRA deals with the issue of health care for those employees who have lost coverage due to a qualifying event. If the employee loses their coverage status, under the rules of the law they are allowed to continue their previous health insurance coverage for a period of time.

Not all self-employed individuals will be covered under this law, but those who have experienced divorce, separation, or death that leads to a loss in coverage can continue their plan for 36 months. Those who had their work hours drastically cut or had their job terminated can continue their insurance plan for 18 months. These are not permanent solutions and do not cover those who resigned from their previous job. Those who do qualify can use COBRA to take advantage of affordable coverage while they are developing their business.

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