Do self-employed people need health insurance?
Technically, if you can afford health insurance, the law requires you to have it. If you didn’t sign up or had a policy but didn’t renew, you will have to pay the Affordable Care Act (ACA) fine when you file your taxes. Basically, if you go for more than three consecutive months without health insurance, you’ll face the penalty.
You work for yourself, so you have complete autonomy, right? Well, when it comes to health insurance, that’s not exactly the case. It’s not that you have to have it, but if you don’t have it, you may be fined.
I have to pay a penalty if I don’t have health insurance?
Yep, it’s true. You will either pay a percentage of your total household gross income (check out your annual tax return; you’ll find it there), or you’ll pay a flat fee. The thing is, you can’t choose which. You have to pay whichever price is higher. Sigh.
And the flat fee isn’t really that flat, because it rises yearly to keep up with inflation. For example, in 2016, the penalty rose by almost $700 for adults and $350 for children.
How can I avoid the fine?
The simple answer is getting health insurance. We don’t currently offer health insurance, but we can point you in the right direction.
Any other ways to avoid the penalty?
Yes. If you qualify for an exemption, you are not required to have health insurance, and therefore will not be fined.
- Your income is too low
- You were uninsured for less than three months out of the year
- You are a Native American and are eligible for other health services
- Your religious beliefs don’t align with insurance
- You have experienced hardship like eviction, bankruptcy or even homelessness
- You have been abroad for over a year
If none of those examples applies to me, now what?
You can opt out of health insurance and just pay the fines every year, if you like. However, the prices will continue to rise with the hope that more people will choose to get covered.
If you are considering health insurance, the average monthly premium for individuals is $393, but there are several plans available, ranging from $174/month for a catastrophic plan to $583/month for a platinum plan. The cost also varies by age. For those aged 25–34, the average monthly premium is $288, whereas for those aged 35–44, the average is $364. If you have a family, you can expect to pay around $1,020.
Why should I get health insurance?
Injuries and illnesses can be unexpected. Have you ever heard of anyone penciling in “fall and fracture my wrist”? No! That’s because things like that can happen when you least expect it.
Health insurance is crucial because it protects you from expensive, unexpected medical costs. Sure, you have to pay a premium (monthly cost) and deductible (a set amount of money before the insurance starts paying for the medical care), but if you have an illness and need to go to the hospital and end up facing a $12,000 bill, it can be a huge relief knowing that insurance is there to do the heavy lifting financially.
Your plan also covers essential health benefits and provides free preventative care for things like vaccines, checkups, and screenings. Checking in regularly with the doc is necessary for your well-being. And if you’re really dedicated to the success of your business, don’t you want to make sure you’re at your best to keep things running smoothly?
Make sure you have the right business insurance if you’re self-employed. Get a quote with us, and we’ll make sure you’re covered.