Your health is one of the most important things you have. It’s easy to assume that as a self-employed business owner, you can’t afford health insurance. However, in reality, you can’t afford not to have health insurance. In 2015, over 1 million adults declared bankruptcy because of medical bills. That’s not something you can afford as a business owner, so don’t risk your health or your livelihood.

There are more options than ever if you’re self-employed. Thanks to new insurance regulations and trends, and a great number of health insurance providers, you can find affordable coverage that suits your needs. This guide will help you start the process so you can keep running your business without worrying about your health.

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Federal Insurance Options

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, you might be able to find coverage through the Healthcare Marketplace. There are actually ACA subsidies that strive to make health insurance more affordable for people without traditional employers. This makes it possible for those who’ve never had insurance to find the right plan

There might be both state and federal plans available depending on your location and income level. This will be your most affordable choice, so it should be your first step. If you don’t qualify for coverage under the ACA, however, don’t fret. You’re not out of options.


Independent Health Insurance

As a self-employed individual, you can still purchase health insurance through an independent insurance provider. Instead of purchasing a plan through your employer, you’ll need to purchase a plan through a marketplace.

You might also be able to find an independent plan through an organization designed specifically for the self-employed. The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), as well as the Freelancers Union, offer insurance plans specifically for self-employed individuals, though it’s not yet available in all part of the country.


Health Savings Account

Many self-employed workers don’t feel the need to purchase an expensive health insurance plan. In fact, if you’re in good health and lead a healthy lifestyle, you might only need a high-deductible or emergency plan. These plans carry greater out-of-pocket costs for services, but they cost you less each month in exchange. When used with a Health Savings Account (HSA), a high-deductible plan is a great alternative to pricy health insurance.

How does a Health Savings Account work? It’s an account that’s linked to a high-deductible health plan that’s used for qualified medical expenses. You can use it to pay for anything from medication to clinic visits. The money belongs to you, and it’s tax deductible. It’s a highly flexible option that puts you in control of your healthcare.


Telemedicine Services

Finally, don’t be afraid to look for creative ways to lower your healthcare costs. Telemedicine, in particular, is becoming the fastest growing alternative to pricy doctor visits. Telemedicine is a way of accessing healthcare professionals from your phone or your computer.

Many telemedicine apps or services allow you to receive prescriptions over your call or chat, so that means you don’t have to spend any time or money on a doctor’s visit for minor problems. While they usually cost a small fee, it’s minor compared to visiting an in-person facility.


Final Thoughts

You can’t afford to not take your health seriously. It’s the most important thing you have. When you’re self-employed, it’s hard to take sick days off or lose time you could be spending on your business. That’s why having the right health insurance is important.

You don’t know what the future will bring. We all would love to be healthy for our entire lives, but accidents do happen. Prepare yourself today with one of the insurance options above to ensure you’re ready for anything.