Affordable Health Insurance for Freelancers: A Guide to Finding the Best Plan for You

July 5, 2023
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One of the added responsibilities of freelancing – at least for those of you based in the US – is managing your own health insurance. This can be a daunting task, as navigating the world of healthcare can be complicated, and finding affordable health insurance for freelancers can be a challenge. However, with a little research and planning, you can find a health plan that works for you and your budget.

No matter which option you choose, it's important to do your research and compare plans to find the best fit for your needs and budget.

How Does Health Insurance Work for Freelancers?

In this section, we'll explore how freelance health insurance works, including health insurance coverage, the Affordable Care Act, and Marketplace.

Understanding Health Insurance Coverage

Most freelance health plans (or all health plans for that matter) fall into one of four categories: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. These categories are based on the percentage of costs that the insurance company will cover.

Bronze plans typically have lower premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs. Platinum plans, on the other hand, have higher premiums but lower out-of-pocket costs. It's important to consider your budget and healthcare needs when choosing a plan.

The Affordable Care Act and Marketplace

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) established the Health Insurance Marketplace, which is designed to help freelancers and self-employed individuals find affordable health insurance. The Marketplace allows you to compare plans from different insurance companies, showing where you may be eligible for tax credits to help lower your monthly premiums.

To enroll in a Marketplace plan, you'll need to provide some basic information, including your income and location. You can also enroll during the annual open enrollment period, which typically runs from November to December. If you experience a qualifying life event, such as getting married or having a child, you may be eligible for a special enrollment period.

It's important to note that not all states have their own Marketplace. If you live in a state without a Marketplace, you can still enroll in a plan through the federal Marketplace.

In addition to the Marketplace, you may also be eligible for Medicaid if your income falls below a certain threshold. The Freelancers Union also offers health insurance options for its members.

Affordable Health Insurance for Freelancers

As a freelancer, finding affordable health insurance can be a challenge. However, there are options available to help you get the coverage you need without breaking the bank.

Subsidies and Tax Credits

One option for freelancers is to take advantage of subsidies and tax credits that can help lower the cost of health insurance. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides subsidies and tax credits to individuals who meet certain income requirements. These subsidies can help reduce the monthly cost of your health insurance premiums. You can visit to see if you qualify.

COBRA Coverage

If you've recently left a job that provided health insurance, you may be eligible for COBRA coverage. COBRA allows you to continue your employer-sponsored health insurance for a limited time after leaving your job. While COBRA coverage can be expensive, it may be a good option if you have ongoing medical needs or if you're in the middle of treatment.


Medicaid is a government-funded program that provides health insurance to individuals with low incomes. Eligibility requirements vary by state, but if you meet the income requirements, you may be able to get free or low-cost health insurance through Medicaid.

To see if you qualify for Medicaid, you can visit your state's Medicaid website or Keep in mind that Medicaid coverage may not be available in all states.

What are the Best Freelance Health Plans?

As a freelance worker, you want to make sure you have coverage that meets your needs and fits your budget – especially knowing that income may wax and wane over the year. Here are some of the best freelance health plans to consider:

ACA-Compliant Plans

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurance plans to meet certain standards. These plans are known as ACA-compliant plans. They cover essential health benefits, such as preventive care and prescription drugs. If you're unemployed or have a low income, you may qualify for premium tax credits to help lower your premium costs. In Hawaii and Massachusetts, there are additional state-level programs that may be available to you.

Short-Term Health Insurance Plans

Short-term health insurance plans are designed to provide coverage for a limited peri, usually up to 364 days. These plans can be a good option if you're in between jobs or waiting for another health plan to start. However, they may not cover pre-existing conditions and may have limitations on coverage. In Texas, Georgia, and Florida, these plans can be purchased for up to 36 months.

Health Savings Accounts

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged savings account that can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses. You must have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) to qualify. The money you contribute to your HSA is tax-deductible, and the funds grow tax-free. This can be a valuable resource for freelancers who want to save money on their healthcare costs well into the future.

Dental and Vision Coverage

Many health plans do not include dental and vision coverage. If you need coverage for these services, you may want to consider a separate dental or vision plan. Some professional associations offer group plans that may be less expensive than individual plans.

These are just a few of the freelance health plans available to you. It's important to understand the terms and limitations of each plan before making a decision. The Kaiser Family Foundation and other valuable resources can provide more information to help you make an informed decision.

Can You Write Off Freelance Health Insurance?

You may be wondering if you can write off your freelance health insurance premiums on your taxes. The answer is, it depends.

If you are self-employed and pay for your own health insurance, you may be able to deduct the entire cost of your premiums on your taxes. This deduction is available whether you purchase your health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace or outside of it.

To be eligible for the self-employed health insurance deduction, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be self-employed and have a net profit for the year.
  • You cannot be eligible for an employer-sponsored health insurance plan.
  • You cannot be eligible for Medicare or be claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return.
How to Claim the Deduction

To claim the self-employed health insurance deduction, you must file your taxes using Form 1040 and report the deduction on Line 16. You can also deduct the cost of health insurance for your spouse and dependents on the same line. It's important to note that the deduction is limited to your net profit for the year. If your net profit is zero or negative, you cannot claim the deduction.

Planning for Enrollment Periods

Open enrollment periods are typically held once a year and allow you to enroll in or make changes to your health insurance coverage. Special enrollment periods, on the other hand, are available outside of the open enrollment period for certain life events, such as losing your job or getting married.

Here are some tips to help you ensure you navigate the marketplace and choose the best plan for you:

  • Know your deadlines: If you miss the deadline, you may have to wait until the next open enrollment period to make changes to your coverage.
  • Consider your needs: When choosing a health insurance plan, it's important to consider your specific needs. For example, if you have a chronic condition, you may want to choose a plan that offers more comprehensive coverage. If you're generally healthy and don't require frequent medical care, you may be able to get by with a plan that has a higher deductible.
  • Understand the costs: Health insurance can be expensive, so it's important to understand the costs associated with each plan. This includes premiums, deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. Make sure you choose a plan that fits within your budget while still providing the coverage you need.
  • Get help if you need it: If you're feeling overwhelmed by the open enrollment process, don't hesitate to reach out for help. Many health insurance companies offer resources to help you choose the right plan, and there are also independent insurance brokers who can assist you.

Overall, while finding affordable health insurance as a freelancer may require some extra effort, it's an important investment in your health and financial stability. By taking the time to research and compare your options, you can find a plan that meets your needs and fits within your budget.

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