Whether you provide Child Care services in your home, in a host family’s home, or you assist in a home Child Care arrangement, you’re likely considered to be self-employed, much like an estimated 50% of the 2020 workforce. You may not have previously considered yourself a freelancer, solopreneur, or contractor, but you have one thing in common with them- the need for an affordable health insurance policy.
Assuming you’re passionate about providing in-home Child Care, you probably looked up Child Care licensing, requirements for home daycare, and family Child Care concerns. A great start indeed!
One thing you need to know up front is that as a self-employed individual, retirement savings and health care coverage are your responsibility. Since you can’t work if you’re sick, which means no income, you’ll want to secure the ability to visit the doc with any ailments.
Here are a few things to consider prior to exploring options for coverage:
1. An insurance broker (or a couple of them) may be able to guide you and provide options not found elsewhere.
2. Many plans’ rates are based on your income, do your research to know if you qualify for reduced rates.
3. The healthier you are NOW will have an effect on your rate, so focus on nutrition and a moderate level of activity.
4. Understand federal/state/local laws, exceptions, and mandates for coverage based on where you live & work. Some states still require coverage and enforce fines for those without.
5. Prices vary across insurers, coverage length, and plan deductible values. High deductible options may be the most commonly affordable but explore thoroughly to find the coverage that fits best.
There are quite a few options nowadays for coverage for self-employed persons, including Child Care providers. Read the fine print on each of these. Some require you have no employees, that you qualify based on a questionnaire, or to prove your income to achieve an affordable rate.
Health Insurance Marketplace
Healthcare.gov requires you to have no employees, complete a qualification questionnaire, and your rate of savings depends upon your expected income for the year. Among other policy options, high-deductible plans and Medicaid / CHIP programs are available through the marketplace.
If you qualify under your partner’s plan or if domestic partner benefits apply, that may be the best way to go considering some options aren’t available to you otherwise. This is especially true for those with pre-existing health concerns.
If you were recently employed and had coverage through your full-time job, consider enrolling with COBRA. It’s a way to hold on to the health plan you had while employed for a set period. Maintaining coverage through a transition, until you find more permanent health insurance, might ease your stress.
Short Term Policies
If you missed the COBRA window and Marketplace open enrollment has passed, you might consider looking into a short-term policy. However, word on the street is that coverage is narrow, and those with preexisting conditions are usually refused.
Associations like NASE
If you’re a member of any local or national organizations, check into the benefits they offer. Chambers of Commerce, NASE, and others may provide group health coverage for members.
Professional Employer Organizations
PEO’s outsource business management tasks like payroll and accounting. Think Gusto, Zenefits, and Justworks for just a few examples. Some of these companies offer access to group healthcare for entrepreneurs using their services.
The Freelancer’s Union
An online resource for the self-employed, membership is free and open to freelancers of all kinds. They offer insurance benefits for health, dental, term life, and more. When you obtain coverage through freelancersunion.org, you (at no additional cost to you) support independent workers just like yourself.
Health Cost Sharing
Health Networks like Liberty Healthshare, Christian Healthcare Ministries, and knewhealth.com are becoming more popular as they offer no-frills health coverage for entrepreneurs. Many have religious roots, and the main requirement for qualification is that you’re already in good health.
Check with friends, family, and even with your online or social media connections to see if you are already connected to any independent insurance brokers. Sometimes brokers have access to plans not found elsewhere, and they may be able to present you a few options.
Stride Health, Inc
One company explicitly focused on connecting entrepreneurs and freelancers with health plans under the Affordable Care Act, which is called Stride Health. They are a California start-up quickly becoming known for their easy to use site since it’s specifically tailored toward the “gig economy.”
Check to see if your local state, county, or city offers their own group health care coverage that you may have access to just by being a self-employed resident. Covered Cali Small Business Insurance Plans is an option for residents living and working in California as an example.
Following your dream to positively impact children’s lives and help families with Child Care doesn’t mean you have to forego benefits like health coverage. In-home Child Care providers and assistants can still have excellent healthcare and should be able to find an affordable plan by exploring the healthcare options above.