Health insurance options not on the exchanges (for the self employed)?
November 1, 2017 1:13 PM   Subscribe

Last couple years we've bought health insurance on the exchanges. We're already on the cheapest plan sold there. This year we are facing a big increase in premiums, big enough that we're considering dropping coverage altogether. We'd like to explore our options though.

One thing I'm vaguely aware of is getting online quotes from insurers not selling on the exchange, and we'll probably do that.

I've also heard of temporary health insurance, which is regarded skeptically when I've seen it discussed, but something we can look into.

Maybe it's possible for us to get in on a group policy somewhere, even though I'm self-employed?

Would appreciate further ideas along these lines, or comments on any of the above.
posted by mattu to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Medical Cost Sharing is a lesser known option, but it typically has faith-based restrictions.
posted by crunchy potato at 1:27 PM on November 1, 2017

I have heard people talking about the fact that much bigger premiums can make you eligible for a subsidy, even if you weren't before. Can you look into that?
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:20 PM on November 1, 2017

If you have at least two unrelated employees (or at least not related as spouses) then I think you can get group insurance. I got a group policy for my law firm (2 emps) and it was about the same as what I'd been paying for Exchange plans. (All the plans suck donkey balls, but the people I interact with on the group plan have been, so far, less skeevy and more competent. YMMV.)
posted by spacewrench at 2:39 PM on November 1, 2017

My Dad joined the chamber of commerce (as a one person business) in his town so that he could be part of the group policy they offered. I think he had to incorporate as an S-Corp or LLC (so he became the sole employee of DadCo) to make it work.
posted by rockindata at 6:31 PM on November 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Temporary insurance is not ACA compliant. It will leave you paying the fine at tax season of 2.4% of your annual income. For many people, the yearly total will be lower than the cost of premiums on an ACA compliant policy. Just researched this today, so I’m fairly confident of this answer.
posted by raisingsand at 7:32 PM on November 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you have a university degree, have you investigated whether your alumni association offers access to insurance plans? It might be worth the cost of a membership. Mine does. (I've only used it before Obamacare existed, for a gap in jobs.)
posted by ktkt at 7:45 PM on November 1, 2017

If the coverage isn't "affordable" (more than 12ish percent of your income), the penalty doesn't apply. There are quite a few exceptions, actually, though finding coverage would be better.

In addition to what others have mentioned, many professional associations offer group coverage for members.
posted by wierdo at 10:36 PM on November 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Try googling "health insurance broker [yourzipcode]." Brokers sometimes have knowledge of plans not offered through the ACA, and there is no cost to you for their services.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:08 AM on November 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thanks to all who replied.

Still researching, but very likely I will incorporate (should have done this before now). This will likely mean an income adjustment that puts us on the good side of the subsidy cliff, and we'll just buy on the exchange like we did last year. Not an answer that will work for everyone, I'm afraid.

For others reading this question: watch yourselves when buying private plans. We've already had an agent aggressively push us toward a policy that, upon investigation, turned out to be basically a scam. Some shady characters out there.
posted by mattu at 2:53 PM on November 2, 2017

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