Even with changes to healthcare laws, health insurance can remain elusive and expensive if you do not receive it through an employer. Hourly workers are often not afforded benefits by their employers, so they are left to get health insurance in other ways. Unfortunately, health insurance is practically a necessity because of how costly it is not to have it. Here is how to find health insurance in the hourly job economy.
Obtain It Through The Marketplace
One of the goals of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was to provide government-subsidized health insurance to people who do not get it through their employers. Hourly workers who do not receive medical benefits are exactly the type of people this program was designed to cover. Some states have their own exchanges while people who live in other states need to go through the federal exchange. Aid is entirely income-based. Open enrollment is only at the end of each year and to apply for coverage at any other time you will need to qualify for a special enrollment period. If you are unemployed, disabled or have a very low income, you might qualify for Medicaid coverage as well. Medicaid programs are administered by the states, which have their own rules for who is eligible. Under the ACA, some states expanded Medicaid to everyone.
Short-Term Health Insurance
Like its name implies, short-term health insurance is a type of health insurance plan designed to be temporary. You can be on a plan for up to one year with the option to extend twice, for maximum coverage time of three years. Some states do not allow these plans to be sold while others place additional restrictions on them. Everyone can apply for them, but pre-existing conditions may cause insurers to decline coverage. Temporary insurance premiums are typically much less than those of a full plan, but they also cover less. Still, if you are an hourly or unemployed worker looking for a full-time job with medical benefits, temporary insurance can help tide you over.
Consider A Medical Cost Sharing Program
Medical cost sharing plans function similarly to health insurance in that members pay their share and then request that the group help them pay for healthcare when they need it. However, these groups are not insurance companies – these programs are often run by faith-based organizations where people who share similar belief systems band together to pay for healthcare. These programs have a few advantages, including the ability to negotiate cash discounts for care as well as not needing to adhere to health provider networks.
Finding and obtaining health insurance is unfortunately much more complicated and difficult than other types of insurance. This is especially true for employees who work hourly or on a freelance basis. Fortunately, you have some ways to secure insurance as well as some alternatives.