How to Handle Health Insurance When You’re Self-Employed & Working Online

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health insurance self employed

We get it. Working online can be scary!

There’s a lot to learn, and transitioning from a 9-5 job can be HARD. Especially when it comes to healthcare! You may be thinking: “How will I make this work? Will I miss my employee benefits? I don’t even know where to start.” 

First things first, don’t panic!

Working online can appear daunting, but figuring out your health insurance isn’t! There are hundreds of options out there, and you just need one plan fit your lifestyle.

There will be close to 42 million self-employed people in the US in 2020 alone. We’re all doing it, and so can you. 

Curious about working from home but not sure how to start?

I’ve got a FREE class that walks through ALL the basics of working from home plus comes with a fun, free bonus!

To help you conquer those nasty fears about health insurance, we wrote this handy blog. We help unravel misconceptions about employer healthcare, and explore some of the coolest unknown health insurance plans!

Handling health insurance when working online just got easier. Whether you’re an American living in the states, traveling the world, or a non-American, we’ve got plenty of resources for you.

Why Health Insurance as an American Living in the States Seems Complicated

Having to worry about health insurance sucks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t figure it out. Don’t let your anxiety about the unknown stop you from taking control! There are so many great options out there. You just haven’t discovered them yet.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of insurance companies and remote workers, we want to clear something up. There are plenty of remote companies that provide health insurance and other benefits!! 

In fact, there are even a handful listed in this Youtube video: 20 Remote Companies Hiring Right Now. So, before you go convincing yourself that people who work online don’t get benefits, STOP! That is a big fat misconception, and it only makes the online space seem scarier to those who have never done it before. 

With that being said, if you want to work for a remote company that provides those benefits, go for it! No stress! But if you really want to become your own business, it’s important to know the why and how behind the health insurance world.

Let’s start with the basics: Insurance policies are SUPER outdated, especially for this digital world we live in. The one major reason is that most insurance companies only cover a LITERAL region or state. That means if you live in Texas and another employee lives in New York, one insurance company probably doesn’t cover both areas. 

This is why so many remote companies are opting out of traditional health insurance plans. It’s a negotiating and coordinating nightmare! And don’t even get us started on international companies. Phew. 

But here’s the thing: tons of remote companies and business owners see this issue and understand! They don’t just leave you hanging, they provide solutions. 

2 Common Health Insurance Benefits When Working Online

1. Health Insurance Stipend

This isn’t a new concept for freelancers, and it’s not different to having an employer insurance plan. Remember, when you get benefits through a traditional company, you’re still paying for the benefits! But instead of seeing that money, the cost for your benefits get taken straight out of your paycheck, which makes it feel like it’s free. But it’s not. 

When you get a health insurance stipend it’s the same idea, but you get to SEE that money instead.

Every month you’re given a certain amount of money with your paycheck. Sometimes this stipend is put into a certain bank account that can only be withdrawn for medical reasons. Other times you just get a little bonus every month to help supplement the cost. It just depends! 

2. Getting Paid 2-3 Times More Than a Physical Employee 

A lot of companies don’t even want to deal with a stipend. Coming up with a fair number, setting up those accounts, and yadi yadi yada! Nah. Instead, they just pay you a higher wage and send you on your merry way! 

It’s also really cool to think that if you were making $15/hr doing admin work, you could easily be getting paid $25/hr or more for the same work from home! Ultimately this pay raise means you can choose how much you want to spend on health insurance and find what’s right for you and your family. 

Knowing HOW you get your money is one thing, but WHERE to find health insurance is another. 

And our tip? Doing your research on the open market with your exact needs is the best thing you can do. It will be hard for us to tell you what insurance you need to get because it is so circumstantial to your situation.

But the Freelancers Union is a great place to start! And here are some other traditional providers you can look at:

We’ve also compiled lists of respected health insurance companies within this blog post, so keep your eye out for that! Next up we have some non-traditional options that might make you think twice. 

4 Non-traditional Health Insurance Options That Nobody Told You About

If you don’t like what you’re seeing on the open market, check out some of these awesome options. These are customizable, unknown tricks that some of us have used before! 

1. Statewide Programs and Free Clinics 

There are thousands of programs across the country that allow you to be covered on ANY salary. Most of these facilities are well kept and they charge according to your income. With a little research and sometimes an application, you could be getting the coverage you need!

Our tip? To find a program like this, all you really need to do is Google it. Things like “Free clinic near me,” or “Income based healthcare” should do the trick. 

2. Local Hospitals

You probably didn’t know this, but some hospitals have their own insurance plans. The idea is that they save time and money by having you covered instead of dealing with the paperwork involved with you uncovered.

Cool, right?

Of course this has its challenges if you want to travel more, but it’s a good place to start if you have absolutely no health insurance. Your best course of action when researching these plans is searching “Local hospital insurance” or even calling a nearby facility. 

3. Healthcare Co-ops

These co-ops are similar to credit unions. They are established, owned, and run by the people who participate – not a billionaire dominated board. The whole goal of these co-ops is to empower the people!

Medishare is one of the most well known co-op (and is specifically Christian), but if that’s not your cup of tea there are plenty of other co-ops out there. These organizations are on national, state, and local levels. A little research, such as “healthcare co-op” or “co-op health insurance” should get you there.

4. Healthcare Apps

There are quite a few apps out there aiming to replace primary care appointments. These work especially well for young, single folks, and those who are traveling throughout the US. 

This is another great short-term option for someone who needs regular medication, or a long term option for someone who rarely goes to the doctor. 98point6 is an app that provides 24/7 care through a text based diagnosis and treatment. To find more apps, search the web or your app store.

What about Health Insurance for Americans Living/Traveling Abroad?

The absolute best option for Americans who’ve decided to make the world their home is Expat Insurance (or Global Medial Insurance).

Our founder, Esther Inman, who is a frequent traveler and mom, uses Expat Insurance and LOVES it! You have to be out of the country for at least 9 months to qualify, but the rates are great and you get coverage in most places you go.

Just remember, if you stay in the United States for an extended period of time (say those other 3 months), you have to get traveler’s insurance to be covered! 

Expat Providers

Travel Insurance Providers 

Tips for Everyone Handling Health Insurance

If health insurance is something that you need to take care of, do your research! It can be overwhelming, but start simple:

  1. What kind of insurance do you need? 
  2. Do you need to cover others?
  3. Are you going to be traveling frequently?
  4. If you’re going international, what are your country’s policies on travel insurance?

With these 4 questions in mind, you can begin to narrow down your needs. If the health insurance market is still gives you goosebumps, begin with the resources in this blog. There might be similar programs where you live! 

This is one of the most common questions that we get asked about by Americans. Don’t worry. We see you, and understand the stress.

Knowing how remote companies deal with insurance is just the first step. Then fleshing out your healthcare needs and options is next. 

We hope that his blog helped you take a step in the right direction! These resources are meant to help anyone who wants to stay near, travel far, or start working online. 

If your interested in other aspects of working online, check out our FREE 90 Day VA intro class! It’s jam packed with great information about what a virtual assistant is, how to find legit work online (even if you have no experience), and the basics of getting started! Enroll now. It’s totally worth it. 

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About the Author:

As a virtual assistant, Abby Brockamp helps her clients focus on what matters in their business: creativity and customers. She’s a member of 90 Day VA and assists with everything from social media management to public relations. When she’s not helping small businesses and influencers achieve their goals, Abby is found performing on stage.

To learn more about Abby and how she can enhance your business and life, check out her facebook page Ask Abby Digital Services.


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