Freelancing | Zach Everson

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From the vault: A freelancer’s perspective on health insurance

health_care_freelancerIn March 2007, an innocent time when people believed Hillary Clinton would be the next president, Barack Obama was an American citizen, and John Edwards had a future, I posted my thoughts on health care and the self-employed:

A freelancer’s perspective on health insurance

I just reread the piece and, yes, I still agree with myself.

While the topic is less fun than self-portraits in airplane restrooms, women baring their breasts at a Bruce Springsteen concert, or crank phone calls from Paris Hilton’s publicist, I reckoned it was a good idea to mention the post with health care reform being such a contentious issue right now.

A freelancer’s perspective on health insurance

health_care_freelancerWith the 2008 presidential race beginning and several states implementing universal health care coverage, health insurance has been in the news recently.

Here’s my take:

Many labor experts and economists believe that workers in the United States stay in jobs they don’t like because health insurance here is tied to their employers. While I broke out of that shackle, I understand why so many people tolerate underpaying jobs that are beneath them just for the health insurance.

When I started freelancing a few years ago, I was on my previous employer’s COBRA plan. It cost over $300 a month. (I later discovered that I could have obtained cheaper insurance, but I had heard it was difficult to find as a freelancer, so I just kept my COBRA. I felt lucky to even have that.)

When my COBRA expired I was uninsured for about six weeks while I waited for an insurer to process my application. Now I am paying about $170 a month, which includes dental coverage. My deductibles are a lot higher than when I had COBRA, but thankfully I do not have any health issues, so that expense is not much of a concern.

While affordable insurance was available—at least for me—there are still drawbacks. A cheaper insurer pays doctors and dentists less than a more expensive one. Therefore doctors and dentists obviously are less inclined to accept new patients from insurers who pay less than other insurers.

Hence, I needed to make an appointment four months in advance with a dentist 75-minutes away to get my teeth cleaned. Unless, of course, I wanted to go back to paying $350 a month for health insurance. I reckon that experience helps counter the claims from opponents of universal health care that it will create long waits for medical treatments. For many of us, long waits already are a reality.

If you are a freelancer and are opposed to universal health care, please let me know why in the comments.

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