Finding Group Insurance for Self-Employed Individuals

The Self-Employed Person’s Guide To Group Insurance

( – Self-employment can be a liberating opportunity for many, but the thought of finding and paying for health insurance can be overwhelming and stressful. Private health insurance plans can be costly, resulting in many self-employed individuals foregoing health insurance altogether. However, there are group insurance options available, and they’re worth researching for those interested.

Group Health Insurance with No Employees

If a self-employed individual has a business or is a sole proprietor who does not hire any employees, they may still be able to acquire insurance in the small group market. There are currently sixteen states that define self-employed as a “group of one,” which requires insurers to guarantee issue them coverage. These states are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Contacting the state insurance department is an excellent way to find specific information regarding group health insurance for small groups.

Group Health Insurance with Employees

Self-employed individuals who have hired at least one employee may have more options. The employee(s) cannot be a spouse, independent contractor, partner or part-owner of the company. Otherwise, self-employed business owners can buy health insurance through an insurance agent, through the public exchange, or from an insurance agent. Another option is an employer-funded health reimbursement account (HRA). Employers are always required to meet group health plan standards as set by federal law.

Association-Based Health Insurance

Another option is to search for group health plans through membership-based organizations. Sometimes, members of professional or trade associations, or community or religious organizations may be able to obtain health insurance coverage at group rates. Members of organizations should ask if it offers health insurance coverage. Then, just like with any other plan, they should research how much the plan(s) cost, what it covers, and other important considerations.

For the self-employed who are worried about private insurance, researching group health insurance as an alternative to the private insurance market takes time but can be well worth the effort.

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