Free Agent Nation – Insurance options for entrepreneurs
You're starting your own business and want to maintain some sense of security that you had with your old company. Just because you are out on your own doesn't mean that you need to give away the security and big company benefits you have become accustomed to.
There are several options out there for entrepreneurs when you are looking for medical and dental insurance.
- Get on your spouse's employer sponsored health plan – This is usually the best option if you are married and your spouse/partner has access to an employer medical and dental plan. Employers are usually able to offer richer benefit plans at more affordable rates than individual insurance.
- COBRA a.k.a. Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act – If you are leaving a company to go out on your own, COBRA may be an option. Usually you will have access to COBRA coverage for up to 18 months after you leave an employer. The issue with COBRA is that you will now pay the entire premium (your employer was probably paying anywhere from 50% to 100% of your premium) and you have no choice when it comes to the benefit plan.
- Guilds, Union, or Professional Membership Organizations – Not only do these organizations provide networking and resources, they may also be able to offer you discounts on health benefits. The discounts available may far exceed the dues or members costs.
- Buying Individual Insurance – If the options above are not a fit, you should consider buying an individual policy. Medical and dental insurance policies are available through insurance agents or directly through the insurance carrier's website. When you are on the carrier's website make sure you look for the term “Individual Insurance.”
So the bottom-line is — weigh your options, do your research and remember you can have benefits without being a corporate drone!
Resources: AARP, the Writers Guild of America, National Association for the Self-Employed, Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa, Delta Dental