Having health insurance is very important, as it can help alleviate some medical expenses, including visiting the doctor or getting prescriptions filled. If you or your spouse have an employer, chances are that you will receive health insurance through them. If you own your own business though, you’ll need to search for and choose your own health insurance, and this can be a daunting experience.
Looking for health insurance is not a fun task, but if you use the following tips, you’ll have an easier time picking the right insurance.
Ask your past employer
If you have yet to leave your full-time job to start your own business, you can ask your HR department if there’s any way that you can stay on their insurance. Some companies will be willing to keep you on, but you’ll probably have to pay for your entire coverage and not the small portion you were paying as an employer. If your company doesn’t offer this benefit, you may be able to use COBRA insurance until you can find something better or more affordable. Just know that COBRA is only available for 18 months after you leave your job, so you’ll eventually have to find something else.
Join your spouse’s plan
If your spouse is employed, find out if it’s possible for you to join their insurance. Most companies will offer family plans to their employees, so there’s no need for you to have a physical or discuss your medical history. Your spouse’s premium will go up though, but this cost will be minimal compared to what you’d pay on your own.
Find out if your groups have a plan
There are certain groups out there that offer health insurance to their members. For example, your local Chamber of Commerce may offer health insurance, or a bar association or church may offer insurance to their members too. If you’re a member of any groups, ask if they offer insurance. And if you’re not yet a member of any groups, join one. The Small Business Service Bureau and the National Association for the Self-Employed offer insurance plans, so you may want to consider joining these groups. Plus, many people over 50 use AARP insurance until Medicare kicks in, so this may be an option for you as well.
Buy your own insurance
You also have the option of buying your own insurance. Keep in mind that doing this will require you to have a physical and may even require the insurance company to access your medical records. Since these private companies don’t have to accept you, you may be turned down if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. If you are accepted, you may have very expensive premiums. You can call around to the major insurance providers, such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield or United Healthcare, or you can use tools like eHealthInsurance.com to compare coverage and premiums of different providers.
Buy a group plan
If your small business can hire one additional employee (even if it’s your spouse), you may be eligible to purchase small business insurance plans. As a small business group, you cannot be turned down for insurance, so this is perfect if you have any pre-existing conditions.
Steven Peters specializes in medical office review monitoring. He is an expert reviews tracker and enjoys blogging about business related topics.
This is a GREAT post! Thank you so much. I actually am fearing this when I do become so successful that I am able to leave my "job" job. I was actually thinking of this VERY thing as I walked down the nursing halls today... "If I leave this job, how will I get a "pay check"? How will I get insurance? It will be so much different working for myself than it is working for a company... is that what I am ultimately afraid of and hence blocking my own success??" Thanks for this information... very, very helpful as a nurse entrepreneur!!
@elizabeth scala We have a few contributing authors with some pretty helpful content.
This question comes up often, and employees often don't realize what they're paying each month for health insurance, especially to cover a family. It's deducted from your paycheck, and you don't often question it until you're actually responsible for covering yourself (and family in some cases) as your own employer.
When my wife and I were both consulting, we had to find coverage for the family. We ended up securing a plan that allowed for annual wellness checkups, hospitalization/procedures (after a deductible was met), and various discounts on services such as labs and X-rays...but again covered 100% after the deductible.
The plan cost us $400.00/month for a family of five (less than what my wife was paying for us through her employer), and we signed up for a HSA account to help with co-pays, which we had control of and it wasn't a "use it or lose it" HSA either. This was all run through the business, which included additional write offs on the bottom line and was non-taxable on a paycheck.
You really have to decide your own needs and if a private or small group plan will meet those needs. For us it worked out just fine.