One of the biggest challenges facing freelancers today (aside from landing paying clients) is finding affordable health care coverage.
In fact, according to a 2016 study by Upwork, 20% of the 55 million freelancers in the U.S. workforce are without health insurance.
It can be tempting to go without it, but that’s a disaster waiting to happen. Try these six resources to find affordable health care when you’re self-employed.
1. Health Insurance Marketplace
Depending on your income and household size, you may qualify for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), premium tax credits or other savings options through the Affordable Care Act.
Create an account and complete an application to find out what benefits you’re eligible to receive.
2. Health Insurance Companies
The companies offer a wide range of price points and coverage options to choose from. It can be difficult to figure out the right one to choose, but it’s worth it to spend time researching your choices.
3. Health Insurance Brokers
Health insurance brokers like Stride and Gravie assemble a variety of plans from several health insurance companies based on the type of coverage you’re looking for so you can quickly compare them and find what you need.
Reputable health insurance brokers make money from the insurance companies they represent and will never charge you a fee for their services.
4. Health Care Sharing Ministries
These faith-based organizations distribute health care costs among their members to help ease the burden of medical bills on individual members.
“These organizations generally require members to make a promise to adhere to certain biblical values and to participate regularly in worship or prayers,” explains HealthInsurance.org.
5. Gig Service Companies
It’s rare, but a few gig service companies offer health benefits to freelancers who use their platforms.
Care.com offers health insurance to its professional caregivers, and SurveyMonkey announced a new set of standards to ensure contract workers receive better health benefits.
6. Freelancer and Industry-Specific Advocacy Groups
Freelancers Union connects freelancers with affordable health insurance plans.
No matter which option you choose, keep this in mind: Whenever you sign a legal document — including a health insurance policy – make sure to read the fine print. A thorough understanding of your coverage could save you big bucks.
Lisa McGreevy is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.