Health insurance for the self-employed

One thing that I’ve been looking into recently is health insurance.  Being over the age of 26, I can’t piggyback on my parents’ health insurance plan.  Having most recently worked outside of the U.S., I can’t use the COBRA plan to extend previous health insurance plans.

When you are self-employed, you have a few options.  You can

  1. Remain uninsured
  2. Find insurance through employment
  3. Find insurance through your state or the federal program if you have a pre-existing condition
  4. Buy your own insurance


Buying your own insurance is always an option.  Of course, you would expect it to be more expensive than if you had the discount benefits from more subscribers like you get in a company or state- and country-wide plans.

Now, if all the self-employed and small-business owners decided to team up, they could leverage their numbers to get discounts.  The National Association for the Self-Employed provides “health benefits” no matter where you are, but this is not proper insurance.  Rather, they provide a small percentage discount (10-40%) on the services you subscribe for.  If you live in NYC or anywhere in eastern New York state for that matter, you can join the the Freelancers Union and get proper health insurance.  Both the NASE and Freelancers Union provide links to finding health insurance on your own no matter where you live outside of what they cover.

(Full disclosure: I joined NASE and signed up for health and dental benefits, at least for the short term, since I am currently unemployed and will be moving to a different state in less than 2 weeks.)

I’m still interested in finding a more proper health insurance.  Ideally, I would like full coverage health insurance, but I’ve read in other places that full health insurance coverage can run $300-400 / month.  I will revisit this issue later, but About.com’s page on health insurance has been fairly helpful for understanding the basis.

(9/26/11: minor edits for clarity)

  • http://gobiog.blogpsot.com Gobi

    Hmmm…I wonder what monthly premiums in Canada would be for our public health plan. It would be good for the avg. consumer (both Canadian and American) to compare to see what you get for your money/taxes.

  • http://www.elangocheran.com Elango

    Using this post as inspiration, I can come up with a quick approximation of average costs for Canadians. The CIHI Trends from 1970-2010 report shows that 2008 per capita health insurance was around $5150. (2009 and 2010 expenses were projected to increase from that by $250/yr per capita) That works out to $430 per month of govt.-paid money per person. I’m not sure how Ontario’s health premium rates can be on average as low as $50/month, or where the other $380/month comes from. (side note: The amount of Canadians’ health care costs that are paid for with that govt money is steady at 70%, with the rest coming out of pocket.)

    I would like to think that for $430/person/month you could probably buy pretty good health insurance in America, especially if you exclude Rx drugs, to the point of free (no deductibles, no co-insurance, no out-of-pocket). If something like that existed in America for that cost, I wonder if Americans who could afford it would buy it for themselves…