Most people who look for health insurance for the self employed have several options. They can obtain private individual health insurance by purchasing it from a broker or health insurance company. Self employed people with very low salaries may be able to get some health coverage through government programs like Medicaid, though eligibility varies. Another option to obtain health insurance for the self employed is to participate in a group of self-employed or business and partnership owners who purchase insurance together, bringing down total costs. Group insurance plans such as these often offer the best prices and coverage, and come the closest to the type of insurance an employee would obtain from his or her employer. These types of plans are not always available to everyone or in all areas.
Another way to examine the different types of health insurance for the self employed is to look at possible kinds of insurance that can be purchased. Each of these has different ways they provide coverage or pay out to doctors or the insured. Some are health maintenance organizations (HMOs), preferred provider organizations (PPOs), Point of Service (POS), or Fee for Service. Some people simply buy catastrophic care, which doesn’t cover regular health expenses, but may provide coverage for serious illnesses and injuries.
Amount paid for health insurance for the self employed, regardless of type, is almost always more expensive than insurance people get through employers. Additionally, insurance companies can refuse coverage for many people, or raise prices extremely high. Sometimes state laws allow people to buy through business co-ops and the co-ops can’t refuse to take someone because of previous or present illness, but this isn’t available everywhere. There are also some states or regions that offer universal health coverage, where people pay a minimum amount each month to receive care. San Francisco, for example, has a plan that allows all people coverage for low prices, though they do restrict the providers people participating in the plan can see.
While there are theoretically many different types of health insurance available for the self-employed, many people still can’t obtain insurance. Either the prices are prohibitive or health insurance companies refuse to cover some individuals due to pre-existing health conditions.