Trade workers are often classified as self-employed or contract employees. While this designation has benefits and increases the opportunities to work in a variety of fields and locations, this group is among the least likely to carry health insurance.

Health insurance is important for your and your family, even if you are relatively healthy. It covers routine medical expenses like check ups, lab testing, and childhood immunizations. In the case of an emergency, health insurance protects you from high medical costs associated with urgent care, surgery, x-rays, and more. While it is not mandatory in the United States to have health insurance, it can greatly decrease the financial burden of medical care.

Because self-employment is becoming more common, there are multiple options for obtaining health insurance for you and your family. Compare costs and features to find the best plan for you. Some of your options include:

  1. Group health insurance. Some states and insurance companies will sell group insurance to individuals. A quick Google search can tell you if your state is one where you can purchase group health insurance if you are self-employed. You’ll need to talk directly to an insurance company to find out what policies are available in your state.

  2. Use an agent. Health insurance agents have contracts with a wide variety of insurance companies and have dozens of plans to choose from. The agent will do all of the leg work of contacting the companies and interpreting the confusing insurance terms. Your choices change depending on the state you live in, and agents will understand what is available in your zip code. They can help you navigate the process of purchasing insurance directly from companies, including paperwork, claims, and billing. Insurance companies usually have plans that are available to individuals on their website so you can browse and compare policies.

  3. Purchase through the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Health Insurance Marketplace was established by the Affordable Care Act and offers hundreds of choices for individuals and families. You must sign up during an enrollment period, which is typically in November and December for the next calendar year. If you have a large life change, you may qualify for an exemption to enroll at other times. The website enables you to see all of the plans available in your area and compare the benefits. This is a great solution for those who are self-employed with no employees. There are agents in all areas of the country to help you determine what plans is best.

  4. Check with any membership organizations you are part of. If you are a member of a union or other professional organization, they may offer insurance plans or at least be able to provide you with accurate and complete information about what is available to you.

When signing up for a health insurance plan, you will have the options to add services such as dental, vision, and accident insurance. These are usually separate plans that carry additional costs. Assess your needs and what kind of medical care you typically use to determine what health insurance is best for you and your family.

At trades.org we provide you with all the support you need to make the best decisions for you and your family. We want to see you succeed in business and in life. Join now to access all our services including educational materials and support for self-employed trade workers.