Did you realize there are nearly 60 million freelance workers in the United States? While being a freelancer provides you with a lot of freedom, it can also make getting an affordable health insurance policy difficult. However, there are things you can do to both land a health insurance policy and lower the amount of money you pay out of pocket for care.
Without a bit of hard work and research, accomplishing your goal of making healthcare more affordable will be nearly impossible. Consulting with a knowledgeable health insurance agent should be your first step in educating yourself about your policy options.
The following are some of the things freelancers can do to reduce the amount of money they spend on healthcare costs.
1. Take Advantage of Open Enrollment
If you are without any type of health insurance, then finding a policy should be your main goal. The open enrollment period established by the Affordable Care Act runs from November 1st to December 15th. During this time, you will be able to peruse the various health insurance policies at your disposal. Once you put in some basic information regarding your age, occupation and income status, you will be presented with a slew of different plans.
While getting a plan individually will provide you with the coverage you need, seeking out a group plan is crucial when trying to reduce healthcare costs. If you are the only member of your freelance business, then getting a group policy may be difficult.
Seeking out the help of a knowledgeable insurance agent can help you figure out if you are eligible for a group rate. There are only a few states that allow individual freelancers to get group insurance rates. The more you know about buying a group health insurance even if you are self-employed, the easier you will find it to get a great policy for a reasonable price.
2. Don’t Let Medical Bills Pile Up
The biggest misconception most freelancers have is that their health insurance policy will pay for all of their treatments. While a good health insurance policy will pay for the majority of these costs, there will still be some out of pocket expenses. As soon as you are presented with a bill from the hospital or medical practice you received treatment from, you need to take action.
Ignoring these bills will only lead to them getting larger due to late charges and other fees. If you are unable to pay the complete balance of the bill in question, ask for a payment plan. Most healthcare providers will be happy to work out one of these payment plans to ensure the balance of the bill is paid.
3. Urgent Care Clinics are More Affordable and Flexible Than Hospital Emergency Rooms
Dealing with a medical emergency can be a very stressful ordeal. The main thing you need to consider when faced with a medical emergency is where you will receive the care needed to get better. The mistake most freelancers make is going to their local hospital’s emergency room to get this care.
Generally, urgent care clinics can provide faster care and are far more flexible in regards to the insurance plans they accept and the amount of the copays they require. Keep in mind that an urgent care facility will only be able to handle non-life-threatening issues. For health problems that are considered life-threatening, you will need to head to a hospital emergency room.
4. Find the Best Possible Price on Prescriptions
Nearly 50 percent of all Americans take at least one prescription drug. Even with a health insurance policy, a freelancer will have to pay some money out of pocket for their prescriptions. Simply settling on the first pharmacy you find may lead to a lot of money being wasted on prescription costs.
This is why you need to take the time to research the pharmacies in your area. Calling around and getting a few price quotes is the only way to ensure the cheapest prescription prices are found.
Saving Money Takes Time and Effort
The only way you can reduce your healthcare costs is by taking the time to do your homework. The amount of time and effort invested in this research will pay off in the long run.