Managing Your Own Benefits
Self-employment also means handling your own health care.
An Array of Options continued...
You might also ask the agent who handles your homeowners' or car insurance
if they write health insurance. According to Flannagan, most do. If your agent
has never mentioned this, there may be a good reason: Commissions are usually
lower, so your agent may be less motivated to market the product.
Flannagan cautions self-employed workers to ask up front about family
coverage if they have dependents. Some plans, she says, don't cover spouses and
Contact at least three to five companies so you can do some comparison
shopping, says Fairbrother. In general, expect to pay more for fee-for-service
plans than managed care plans. Be aware that some managed care plans increase
the premium as you change age brackets, perhaps every 10 years.
Researching the Plans
Before deciding, consider doing some research on the company's rating. A.M. Best and Standard and Poor's offer rating information.
Another group, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, posts report cards
on various plans. The Health Insurance Association of America also offers many tips
on its Web site about buying health insurance.