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  1. #1
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Health Insurance
    Probably one of the biggest hassles with self-employment is health insurance. You don't realize how much of a benefit companies are giving until you try to get health insurance on your own.

    If your spouse still works and has health insurance available, that's probably the best deal. When you (or your spouse) quit work, you can continue your health insurance for another 12-18 months through COBRA. That may also still be a good deal, although it'll be more expensive than when you were working there.

    Beyond that, and you'll need to shop.

    One thing worth considering is Health Savings Accounts. This is something new in the past year or two, but is similar to the older Medical Savings Accounts. Basically, it's a high-deductible (up to $5000/year, then covered 100% after that) coupled with a savings/reimbursement account. The nice thing is that the premiums and savings up to your deductible amount are all tax-deductible. Then, you can use the amount you've saved to pay for any qualifying health expense (including things that the insurance might not cover--like having a baby).

    Speaking of having a baby, that's one thing you'll have a hard time getting insurance. (I think some states might require insurance companies to cover it, but most don't.) For us to get it, it's an extra policy that would cost $100 per month and have a maximum benefit of $2000. It's not worth it, unless you plan on having kids more frequently than once every 20 months. My brother (in another state) was quoted $250 per month for a policy that covered up to $5000. (It costs more like $10,000 for a routine delivery.)

    One thing I don't recommend is NASE's health insurance through Mega Life and Health. The coverage has some major gaps. Also, their customer service stinks. They ripped me off for a month's worth of premiums.

    Anyone have any other tips or ideas?
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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  2. #2
    Crazy Cat Lady Heidi's Avatar
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    Contact your Local Chamber of Commerce - many times they offer the opportunity of getting in on group plans for small businesses and can save you a substantial amount of money.

    In some cases you don't have to work/live in the same town, you can sometimes join in nearby towns also if your own town doesn't offer it.

    In addition to the health insurance, there is also the extra added benefit of exposure of your business to other people, thru member directories that include your URL and web sites if your town has one.
    Heidi
    "Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true"

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
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    I would check out http://www.bcbs.com/

  4. #4
    Outsourced Program Manager tmartini's Avatar
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    For those of you who live in Washington state, Premera Blue Cross has some relatively affordable small business health insurance plans. I pay $680/month for the four of us and thankfully childbirth is for the most part covered. Otherwise I'd still be paying for my son's nine week stay in the hospital when he was born 14 weeks premature!

    Anyone who's interested in details can PM me. Take care.

    -- Todd
    Todd Martini
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  5. #5
    Not Verif-Lidated infoTim's Avatar
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    My regional Blue Cross / Blue Shield has affordable plans for self-employed people. It was comparable in cost and coverage to what was available through my wife's employer.
    Tim
    consultant by day, affiliate by night

  6. #6
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    You can also check out the Small Business Service Bureau (http://www.sbsb.com/Default.htm). I'm not sure if this is only for Massachusetts residents or not. I have my health insurance with them, and I'm very happy with it.

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager
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    One of the things I've found believe it on not on the adult side is some affiliate programs are offering health insurance to their affiliates.

    Affordable and well thoughtout - who says adult is all bad

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    When you (or your spouse) quit work, you can continue your health insurance for another 12-18 months through COBRA.
    I went full time AM last year and found out that your employer must be a certain size to get you the COBRA deal. Since I was with a small company, we only got 3 months of state manadated COBRA-type coverage.

    Not sure if that is just here in TN or if it's nationwide.

    We ended up geting an individual plan through BCBS. Everything has worked out for the best but I should have looked seriously at health ins sooner.

    Ross

  9. #9
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    PacifiCare in Calif. has been pretty reasonable.

  10. #10
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    try shopping for insurance. I checked on the net found it to be easier to go online when shopping for insurance. The place I went to is [spam] (search in google) they were able to give a health quote that was acceptable to me in the speediest time. Anyways hope this helps you guys.
    Last edited by MichaelColey; April 28th, 2006 at 01:30 AM. Reason: Right...

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I'm actually just about purchase myself some insurance. I was looking at Blue Shield like Trust recommended. I haven't looked into Pacificare yet. I'm still young and only need simple coverage. I saw some prices as low as $90/mo with Blue Shield. I can't remember what the deductable was, but the office visit and perscription costs seemed relatively low. Can somebody offer me an example of a good deal for an individual?

    Thank you,
    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  12. #12
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    If you're young, single, and healthy, that sounds about right.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    I'm actually just about purchase myself some insurance. I was looking at Blue Shield like Trust recommended. I haven't looked into Pacificare yet. I'm still young and only need simple coverage. I saw some prices as low as $90/mo with Blue Shield. I can't remember what the deductable was, but the office visit and perscription costs seemed relatively low. Can somebody offer me an example of a good deal for an individual?

    Thank you,
    - Scott
    Hi snib, Its a good choice for having insurance. But then you shoud shop around the net wherein you can have free quotes and compare their rates. That you can select which is affordable for an individual like you. Dont you know that even if you're young or old every one needs insurance. Its like security unless your invincible. It annoys having problems financially especially if you are the one who is sick. And people who avoids being insured dont care for his life and his family. Imagine having a wife and kids and not having them insured? Even if you are young you can never say that nothing would happen to you, like accidents and stuff.

    Snib, I became ill early last summer, I was afraid to go to the doctor just incase I had some sickness in me. What hurts is during that time I didn’t have insurance. We are all aware that if you try to get insurance with a pre-existing condition, well obviously, your application would be rejected. So being sick as I was, I refused to see a doctor. And as a self-employed individual with children and a housewife, being able to afford insurance was hard. So I shopped around on the net for health insurance. The traditional way of finding insurance was to call brokers and agents, but that was very time consuming. Anyways after finding this insurance website, they were able to get all the quotes of major insurance companies in so I can compare. Worked out pretty slick. I decided to get the 20/80 plan.

    As I waited for my physical I applied through the same company for life insurance to secure my family. The life insurance became effective immediately as soon as they received my payment. A week after taking my physical, the insurance company wrote me and told me I was approved for insurance. So not to be obvious, I waited another 2 weeks before seeing a doctor. Anyways, after seeing the doctor with some tests which include but not limited to MRI, EKG and numerous amount of blood tests the doctor concluded that there was nothing wrong with me. He stated that it seem like I was just under a lot of stress and prescribed me some medications to temporary treat my anxiety. Anyways what I am trying to get at is that for those of you who don’t have insurance, don’t wait until you start feeling something before you do. And, if you have children or dependents, I highly recommend getting life insurance. Depending on your age and the amount you want to insure yourself for will determine your premium, regardless of how much, I recommend just getting it. Anyways thought I share my story. By the way the site I visited was [my own affiliate site?].
    Last edited by MichaelColey; April 28th, 2006 at 09:08 AM. Reason: Removed apparent self-promotion

  14. #14
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Heidi:

    I'm still fortunate enough to have insurance through my wife, but one of my site design clients had found some great insurance in Rochester for being self employed. His insurance was very similar to mine (through Preferred Care ultimately).

    I'll ask him what organization he got it through. I remember he specifically stated that it was far better than through a CoC. Even if you don't need the info, it might be worthwhile for others here, so they have another idea on where to look...
    Kevin Webster
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  15. #15
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    Sams Club offers Health Insurance to small business owners. I'm not sure of the prices or quality, but it's another option:

    http://www.samsclubmemberservices.co...-insurance.asp

  16. #16
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    Most insurance companies don't provide individual policies in Massachusetts. (I haven't checked out Sams Club yet.) because of the services they must provide and the fact that they aren't allowed to ask about past health issues.

    The policy provided by the local chamber is $600 for one person, and does not provide ion drug benefits or dental. Families can expect to pay about $1,000.

    Disability insurance is almost impossible to get in this business.

    There will probably be some significant changes here next year, if the state legislature mandates that everyone will get coverage.

    Until then I work a 30 hour a week job for the health and disability.

  17. #17
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    That's what happens when government gets involved and requires that companies provide specific services. If you think it's bad now, just wait until insurance companies are required to accept everyone.

    It would be great if webmasters/affiliates could band together and negotiate discounted rates like an employer can. Unfortunately, insurance companies don't consider losely connected organizations to be groups. It has to be an employer relationship, it has to be available for all employees, the employer typically has to pay at least 50%, there typically has to be at least 50% participation, and employees have to work at least 20 or 30 hours per week. It also extends to owners.

    Hmm, that gives me a couple ideas:

    1) I know that some companies give special perks to shareholders. I wonder if any of the health insurance companies offer shareholders discounted health insurance? Probably not.

    2) What if a company was created with hundreds or thousands of shareholders and they offered group health insurance to their shareholders?

    I might have to check into those options.
    Last edited by MichaelColey; May 7th, 2006 at 08:45 AM. Reason: Added Link
    Michael Coley
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  18. #18
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    anyone here having a Health Savings Account with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, especially for individual (one-person self-employed) coverage?

  19. #19
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Here's a bill that would have helped small businesses get more affordable health insurance:

    http://enzi.senate.gov/S.%2019552.htm

    The Enzi-Nelson-Burns Bill (S. 1955) creates new and more affordable health insurance options by:

    • Enabling business groups to pool their members in small business health plans (SBHPs) for greater market clout and affordability;

    • Protecting against adverse selection and market disruption by creating a level playing field between SBHPs and other options;

    • Creating the opportunity for more coverage options in more states by simplifying and streamlining the current hodgepodge of varying health insurance regulation;

    • Giving small businesses and working families the right to choose lower-cost coverage alternatives free of some of the current expensive benefit mandates; and,

    • Protecting consumers by maintaining strong oversight of SBHPs at the state level and not moving it to Washington.

    The bill draws on the best aspects of the current association health plan (AHP) bills, but it responds to concerns over self-insurance and cherry-picking that have stalled this health insurance legislation for a decade.

    The bill offers relief not just to members of associations, but to all purchasers as well.
    Unfortunately, it looks like this bill may be dead due to opposition from 43 senators. If something like this is important to you, check to see how your senators voted and contact them to let them know that you support the bill.
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

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