Self-employment is now a widespread career option. Self-employed individuals work for themselves, resulting in no regular salary or wage from an employer. While it offers a great deal of flexibility and independence, one of the challenges that self-employed individuals face is the need for employee benefits, including health insurance. This article will explore the best health insurance for self-employed individuals, including key considerations to help make an informed decision.
Top health insurance options for self-employed individuals in 2023: shortlist
In recent years, the number of self-employed individuals has been on the rise, and with that comes the need for affordable and comprehensive health insurance options. While self-employed individuals can work on their terms, they often face the challenge of finding the right health insurance plan that suits their needs and budget.
Fortunately, several health insurance providers offer specialized plans for self-employed individuals, ensuring they can access quality healthcare coverage.
- Humana – best health insurance for self-employed with excellent prescription drug coverage
- Blue Cross Blue Shield – best additional coverage beyond basic healthcare needs
- United Healthcare – best comprehensive healthcare benefits
- Aetna – best preventive care and wellness programs
- Cigna – best Medicare Advantage plan
Best health insurance for the self-employed in 2023
Self-employment is a popular career choice, offering flexibility and independence. However, self-employed individuals often need help obtaining affordable and comprehensive health insurance. Finding the right health insurance plan that suits their needs and budget can be daunting. This guide will explore the best health insurance options for self-employed individuals, considering key factors to help make an informed decision.
1. Humana – best focus on preventive care
Humana puts importance on preventive care in maintaining overall health and well-being. They offer wellness programs that encourage individuals to adopt healthy lifestyles and provide access to discounts on fitness and gym memberships. This focus aligns well with the needs of self-employed individuals who prioritize maintaining their health to ensure they can continue running their businesses effectively.
Moreover, Humana's extensive network of healthcare providers ensures that self-employed individuals have a wide range of choices when it comes to selecting doctors, specialists, and hospitals. This network accessibility allows individuals to receive quality care without the hassle of limited options or long wait times.
In addition to the extensive provider network, Humana provides excellent prescription drug coverage. Self-employed individuals having access to affordable medications is crucial for managing healthcare costs.
Humana is a popular choice for self-employed individuals seeking Medicare Advantage plans due to its availability in most states. This broad coverage availability ensures that self-employed individuals in various regions can access their comprehensive healthcare plans.
Why it is on our list: Humana stands out for its extensive network of healthcare providers and excellent prescription drug coverage. They prioritize preventive care and offer wellness programs and discounts on fitness and gym memberships. Humana's popularity stems from its availability in most states, particularly for Medicare Advantage plans.
2. Blue Cross Blue Shield – best customer service
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) is widely recognized for providing comprehensive health insurance coverage. Their Medicare Advantage plans go beyond basic healthcare needs, offering additional benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing coverage. This comprehensive coverage can appeal to self-employed individuals who want more comprehensive protection for their overall health.
One of the key advantages of choosing Blue Cross Blue Shield is its extensive network of healthcare providers. With a strong presence across many states, individuals can access a wide range of doctors, specialists, hospitals, and healthcare facilities. This accessibility is especially important for self-employed individuals who may travel frequently or live in different locations throughout the year.
In addition to its comprehensive coverage and extensive network, Blue Cross Blue Shield is known for its reliable customer service and support. As a self-employed individual, having access to responsive and helpful customer service can greatly simplify the insurance process and ensure that any questions or concerns are addressed promptly.
Blue Cross Blue Shield's commitment to innovation and technological advancements also benefits self-employed individuals. They provide user-friendly online portals and mobile apps that allow individuals to manage their insurance coverage, track claims, and access healthcare resources.
Why it is on our list: Blue Cross Blue Shield offers a wide range of Medicare Advantage plans with comprehensive coverage options. Their plans often include dental, vision, and hearing benefits, making them an attractive choice for self-employed individuals seeking additional coverage beyond basic healthcare needs. With a strong presence across many states, beneficiaries can easily access their services.
3. United Healthcare – best for additional benefits
United Healthcare has gained recognition for its value-driven approach to Medicare Advantage plans. This particularly appeals to self-employed individuals seeking affordable health insurance options without sacrificing the quality of coverage. With United Healthcare, individuals can access comprehensive healthcare benefits at competitive prices.
One of the primary advantages of choosing United Healthcare is the affordability of its plans. Accessing quality healthcare coverage while managing costs significantly benefits those who work independently.
In addition to affordability, United Healthcare's plans frequently include valuable additional benefits. These benefits encompass fitness programs, which can benefit self-employed individuals looking to prioritize their overall well-being. Additionally, United Healthcare often provides coverage for vision care and hearing aids, ensuring that individuals can effectively maintain their eye and ear health.
United Healthcare is known for its extensive network of healthcare providers. This network accessibility allows self-employed individuals to choose the healthcare providers that best suit their needs and preferences.
Moreover, United Healthcare prioritizes customer satisfaction by offering reliable customer service and support. This level of service is essential for self-employed individuals who want seamless assistance when managing their health insurance.
Why it is on our list: United Healthcare is known for its value-driven Medicare Advantage plans. They offer affordable options without compromising benefits. United Healthcare's plans often feature low-cost premiums and additional perks such as fitness programs, vision care, and hearing aids.
4. Aetna – best telehealth services and benefits
One of the key advantages of choosing Aetna is its strong emphasis on preventive care. They understand the importance of early detection and proactive measures in maintaining good health. Aetna's plans often include comprehensive coverage for preventive services such as vaccinations, screenings, and wellness check-ups.
In addition to preventive care, Aetna provides valuable wellness programs and benefits. Aetna's commitment to promoting wellness extends to offering telehealth services, enabling individuals to conveniently access healthcare professionals from the comfort of their own homes or offices. This accessibility is especially beneficial for self-employed individuals with limited time for in-person medical appointments or living in remote areas.
Aetna's extensive network of healthcare providers ensures that self-employed individuals have a wide range of options for choosing doctors, specialists, and hospitals. Moreover, Aetna's plans are available in numerous states, providing self-employed individuals with broad coverage options. This geographic accessibility allows individuals who frequently travel or live in different regions to maintain consistent health insurance coverage.
Why it is on our list: Aetna offers a variety of Medicare Advantage plans designed to meet diverse beneficiary needs. They prioritize preventive care and provide wellness programs, gym memberships, and telehealth services. Aetna's plans are available in numerous states, offering broad coverage options for self-employed individuals.
5. Cigna – best extended dental and hearing benefits
One of the primary advantages of choosing Cigna is its focus on comprehensive coverage. Additionally, Cigna's plans frequently encompass prescription drug coverage, dental, vision, and hearing benefits, providing individuals with holistic healthcare coverage.
Cigna's extensive network of healthcare providers is another appealing aspect for self-employed individuals. With a sizeable network, It also provides peace of mind knowing that quality care is readily available.
Moreover, Cigna's Medicare Advantage plans are available in multiple states, ensuring accessibility for many beneficiaries. This geographical availability is advantageous for self-employed individuals who travel frequently or reside in different states throughout the year. It allows them to maintain consistent health insurance coverage regardless of their location.
In addition to its comprehensive coverage and extensive provider networks, Cigna strongly emphasizes customer satisfaction. They strive to deliver exceptional customer service and support, ensuring self-employed individuals have a positive experience managing their health insurance needs.
Why it is on our list: Cigna excels in providing comprehensive coverage and extensive networks of healthcare providers. Their Medicare Advantage plans offer a broad range of benefits, including prescription drug coverage, dental, vision, and hearing benefits. Cigna's plans are available in multiple states, making them accessible to many beneficiaries.
Comparing the best health insurance providers for self-employed
Self-employment has become a popular career choice, offering flexibility and independence. However, self-employed individuals often face affordable and comprehensive health insurance challenges. This article compares the best health insurance options for the self-employed, considering key factors to help make an informed decision.
|Humana||Blue Cross Blue Shield||United Healthcare||Aetna||Cigna|
|In-Network Providers||Varies||1.7 million||1.3 million||35.000||1.5 million|
|State Availability||50 states||50 states||18 states||8 states||13 states|
|Additional Benefits||Prescription drug coverage, dental, vision, hearing care||dental, vision, hearing coverage||fitness programs, vision care, hearing aids||dental, vision, hearing coverage, wellness programs||prescription drug coverage, dental, vision, and hearing benefits|
How we compiled our list of the best health insurance for self-employed
When comparing health insurance options for the self-employed, carefully considering various criteria is essential to find the most suitable coverage. The compiled list of the best health insurance options considers the following:
- Plan types — should align with specific healthcare needs
- State availability — ensures access to healthcare services in desired locations
- National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) ratings
- Affordability — crucial for the self-employed
- Provider networks — offer flexibility in choosing healthcare professionals
- Additional benefits — enhance the value of a plan
- customer satisfaction — reflects the overall experience
- Coverage across multiple states — vital for travelers or residents in different states
Why the self-employed should seek health insurance
There are many reasons why self-employed individuals should seek out health insurance coverage. The most significant reason is to protect their health and well-being. Health insurance can provide access to necessary medical care, which can be crucial in illness or injury. Without health insurance, the cost of medical treatment can quickly become overwhelming and unaffordable, leading to financial ruin or even bankruptcy.
In addition to protecting their health, self-employed individuals should consider the potential impact of a health emergency on their business. A major medical event can disrupt their ability to work and earn an income, which can have a domino effect on their finances and ability to maintain their business operations. Health insurance for the self-employed can provide a safety net, allowing individuals to focus on their recovery and business without the added stress of medical bills and financial uncertainty.
Overall, obtaining health insurance is an intelligent investment for self-employed individuals, providing peace of mind and financial protection in the face of unexpected health challenges.
What are the best health insurance options for the self-employed?
When choosing health insurance options for the self-employed, navigating the various choices available can be overwhelming. There are several options, each with pros and cons. Weighing the costs and benefits of each option is essential to finding the right health insurance plan for the unique needs of self-employed individuals.
Health insurance groups
Health insurance groups, such as trade or professional associations, are choices for self-employed individuals to access health insurance coverage. These groups offer group plans that can be more affordable and provide access to a broader range of coverage options than individual plans. Additionally, health insurance groups may provide added benefits, such as access to networking opportunities, educational resources, and discounts on other services.
Joining a health insurance group can also help self-employed individuals build credibility and establish themselves within their industry or field. For these reasons, health insurance groups are often a smart choice for self-employed individuals seeking cost-effective and comprehensive health insurance coverage.
The health insurance Marketplace was established as part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, to provide individuals with more affordable health insurance options. The Marketplace is an option for self-employed individuals pursuing health insurance coverage that fits their distinct needs and offers a wide range of plans from different insurance providers, with options for varying coverage and costs.
Private health providers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna offer plans specifically designed for the self-employed through the Marketplace. By comparing plans and providers, self-employed individuals can find a plan that fits their budget and provides the coverage they need. However, it's important to note that Marketplace plans vary at the county level and may not be available in all locations, so individuals should check healthcare.gov to see what plans are available in their area.
Medicare and Medicaid are health insurance options for self-employed individuals who may not have access to employer-sponsored coverage.
Medicare is a federally funded program that primarily provides health coverage for individuals aged 65 and older and those with certain disabilities, Enrollment, or changes in existing coverage can occur during Medicare’s annual open enrollment period. Failure to enroll at age 65 may result in penalties.
Self-employed individuals eligible for Medicare can enroll in Parts A and B, which cover hospital and medical services. In addition to Parts A and B, they can purchase a Medicare Advantage plan, also known as Part C. Private insurance companies offer these plans and usually provide additional coverage such as vision, dental, and prescription drug coverage.
Medigap plans, or Medicare Supplement plans, are designed to fill in the “gaps” in original Medicare coverage, such as deductibles, co-payments, and coinsurance. Private insurance companies also offer these plans. They can help reduce out-of-pocket costs for those with original Medicare.
Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that provides health coverage for low-income individuals and families, and eligibility requirements vary by state. Some states have expanded Medicaid coverage to include higher-income individuals and families. Self-employed individuals who meet the income and eligibility requirements may qualify for Medicaid in their state.
Short-term insurance plans
Short-term insurance plans are alternatives for self-employed people seeking temporary health insurance coverage. These plans provide coverage for a limited duration, typically up to 12 months. They may be a good fit for individuals between jobs, waiting for open enrollment, or seeking a more affordable coverage option.
Short-term plans often have lower premiums than traditional health insurance plans, and they may offer more flexibility in coverage options. However, it's essential to note that short-term plans may provide a different level of coverage than traditional plans and may not cover pre-existing conditions or certain healthcare services.
Partner’s health insurance
A partner's health insurance plan can be a good option for self-employed individuals with a spouse or domestic partner with access to employer-sponsored health coverage. In many cases, these plans may provide more comprehensive coverage than individual health insurance plans.
They may have lower premiums or cost-sharing requirements. Additionally, partnering with a spouse or domestic partner's employer-sponsored health plan can provide stability and continuity of care. The individual can remain enrolled in the plan even if their self-employment status changes.
How much is health insurance for the self-employed?
The cost of health insurance for self-employed individuals can vary widely depending on many factors, including age, health status, location, and coverage needs. In general, self-employed individuals can expect to pay higher premiums for health insurance than those who receive coverage through an employer.
According to a 2020 report by eHealth, the average premium for an individual health insurance plan purchased through their platform was $456 per month, while the average premium for a family plan was $1,152 per month. However, it's important to note that costs can vary significantly based on the specific plan, provider, and location. Self-employed individuals may be eligible for tax credits or subsidies to help offset the cost of health insurance premiums if they purchase coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Evaluating plan options and costs when choosing health insurance ensures having the coverage needed at an affordable price.
How to pick the right health insurance option for the self-employed
Choosing the right health insurance option as a self-employed individual can be overwhelming. There are several factors to consider when making this critical decision.
- Evaluate your healthcare needs. Consider your current health status and anticipated healthcare needs when selecting a plan.
- Research the Marketplace. The Health Insurance Marketplace offers a variety of health insurance plans, and it's essential to research different plans and providers to find the best fit for your healthcare needs and budget.
- Consider group plans. Self-employed individuals can access group health insurance plans through trade associations or professional organizations, which can provide more affordable coverage options.
- Check if you qualify for cost reduction. Depending on your income, you may be eligible for tax credits or subsidies that can reduce the cost of health insurance premiums.
- Compare costs and benefits. Don't choose the plan with the lowest premium. Review the plan's deductible, co-pays, and out-of-pocket maximums to ensure you understand the costs associated with each plan.
- Review the plan's network of providers. Ensure that the plan’s network includes your preferred healthcare providers and hospitals.
- Consider the plan's prescription drug coverage. If you take prescription medications, review the plan's coverage options and formulary to ensure your medications are covered.
Health insurance for self-employed individuals is a vital investment to protect their health, well-being, and businesses in the event of unexpected health challenges. Various health insurance options are available to self-employed individuals, including health insurance groups, the Marketplace, federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid, short-term insurance plans, or health insurance through a partner's employer-sponsored plan. By being well-informed, self-employed individuals can make educated decisions about their health insurance, securing financial protection and peace of mind.
Read more about other health insurance policies
Can the self-employed get health benefits?
Self-employed individuals are qualified to get health insurance. For example, self-employed individuals can get insurance benefits through a state health insurance exchange or by privately purchasing a health insurance plan. Alternatively, they may join a professional organization that offers group health insurance plans.
Do the self-employed get cheaper insurance?
Self-employed individuals can save on insurance costs depending on their income level. Some may even qualify for government subsidies to help cover the premiums. Moreover, certain insurance companies offer group health plans tailored to the needs of self-employed people, which may come with more competitive rates than individual plans.
How can I get health insurance if I am self-employed?
If you are self-employed and need health insurance, there are several considerations to make. First, evaluate your coverage needs to compare costs and benefits, which helps research plan options through the Marketplace or private insurance companies. Additionally, you can join a group health insurance plan through a professional organization or trade association. Finally, you may be able to enroll in a spouse or partner’s benefit plan.
- CMS.gov. Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).
- Medicaid.gov. Medicaid Eligibility.
- Medicare.gov. Your Medicare Coverage Choices.
- Healthcare.gov. Self-employed People.
- Healthinsurance.org. Self-employed health insurance deduction.
Show all references
- eHealth. ACA Index Report on Unsubsidized Consumers in the 2020 Open Enrollment Period.
- GetMeHealthInsurance.org. Health Insurance Enrollment.