I’ve been covering the health insurance market on-and-off for almost 20 years now and have reported on many different efforts by local chambers of commerce, city administrations and state departments of health and insurance to give people who aren’t covered by company plans a way to find health insurance.
That’s the first hurdle to getting coverage if you are a freelancer: finding how which companies offer plans in what’s called in most states the individual or private marketplace — meaning people who are self-employed or can’t get insurance through their organization or a company for some reason.
Affording a plan is the second and larger hurdle — and Elaine is going to write about that soon — but first things first.
I just came across a fantastic site put out by the federal government that I thought was really helpful. After I filled out an intuitive web form in under five minutes (I told the questionnaire I was losing coverage that I’d had through a company), it told me that I should look into six different options, including COBRA coverage, special enrollment in a spouse’s plan, and individual health plans.
I clicked on the last. The site asked for my location (that’s usually a big issue, because health care plans are governed by state laws). Then the site offered 85 different plans, 10 different ways to sort them, and an option to compare three plans at the same time.
Sweet — as my younger brother used to say when something clicked into place for him.
I hope this web site is helpful to some people — I was pretty impressed.