The world of a freelancer is unlike that of any other. Freelancers are usually made up of people who need to control their time and assets to work around other responsibilities. Many freelancers decided on this career path because they wanted to spend more time raising their children. Others take care of family members who are elderly or disabled. Some are entrepreneurs who simply want to work for themselves and not have the stress of a 9 to 5 job.
Affordable healthcare has been talked about so much in recent years, we have forgotten what it means. When the Obama administration weighed in on this crisis, it was presented as a way for all Americans to have quality insurance coverage. People were quick to jump on the healthcare train. No one was against providing healthcare for the poor, elderly, veterans, or people with pre-existing illnesses. But the reality of the “solution” was much different.
Middle-class Americans who were already insured were shocked when their healthcare premiums doubled and sometimes tripled. Copays and deductibles rose while coverage dropped. Freelancers and other self-employed people had no company that helped pay their insurance.
They could apply to the Healthcare Market and try to get government assistance, but unless they were living below the poverty level, help was insufficient. The best the freelancer can hope for is a high copay and high deductible policy unless they are on SSI or SSDI.
If the freelancer is over 65-years old or disabled they are eligible for Medicare. Freelancers who are caregivers to this group of people must know what coverage they have. This is where Medicare comes into play.
Medicare Part A pays for expenses at the hospital when they are admitted. Part B pays for some doctors, equipment and supplies needed, and preventive healthcare measures. Part C (Medicare Advantage) pays for your doctor’s visits. (You can use the Medicare funds to pay for private insurance for little or no money). Part D pays for many, but not all of, your prescription drug costs.
- Stay healthy
The best way to lower expenses for healthcare is to stay well. Eat properly, exercise, and rest. Take medications prescribed for you as directed. Go for well-patient checkups. It takes less effort to stay or get healthy than it does to get well after you are sick.
- Shop for the best coverage
Many people complain about their coverage, but they never look at other plans. Fear of ending up with less coverage paralyzes them. It is a buyers market. Right now, all insurance companies are trying to beat their competition. Sit down with an agent and discuss your options. Compare your policy to other plans and if you need to make a change, do it.
- Prescription drugs
Large pharmaceutical companies reach out to doctors in order to sell their drugs. Your doctor gets a cash incentive to prescribe these drugs. Often the new drugs are not covered by insurance. This means you pay a high price for the medication. Tell your doctor you only want drugs that are covered by your insurance. Ask for generic drugs whenever possible.
Freelancers must be cautious with their healthcare providers. Everything your doctor does affects your out-of-pocket expenses. You do not have a big company behind you to keep prices low. Be health conscious and be diligent and you will keep a firm grip on your healthcare dollars. Do not exhale yet. The current administration promises change, but it will be slow coming.