Want to jump straight to health insurance quotes? Compare here and find the cheapest premium with the best coverage.
When employers offer health insurance as a benefit, the employer may pay over 80% of the cost. If you’re self-employed or an independent contractor, the entire cost of health insurance coverage is yours. Fortunately, there are some effective ways to make health insurance more affordable, but there are some important considerations as well. The best self-employed health insurance is out there, and these are just a few tips and insights you can use to your advantage.
Quick Look: Best Self-Employed Health Insurance
- Best for Access to Specialists: Kaiser Permanente
- Best for Nationwide Coverage: Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Best for Pharmacy Programs: Cigna
- Best for PPO Plans: Humana
- Best for Member Support: Aetna
Table of contents [Show]
- Quick Look: Best Self-Employed Health Insurance
- Best Self-Employed Health Insurance
- 1. Kaiser Permanente
- 2. Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS)
- 3. Cigna
- 4. Humana
- 5. Aetna
- What Should I Know About Self-Employed Health Insurance?
- What Affects Health Insurance Costs?
- What to Look for in a Self-Employed Health Insurance Plan
- Get the Right Self-Employed Health Insurance
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Self-Employed Health Insurance
Take a look at our list and compare quotes to find the best premium for you.
1. Kaiser Permanente
Health insurance is often offered regionally, and Kaiser Permanente is no exception. While limited to just 8 states and Washington, D.C., this insurer is known for affordable rates and a wide selection of options (if you live where it offers plans).
If you’re a little older but not quite ready for Medicare, you may also find a price advantage with Kaiser Permanente.
Kaiser Permanente is a not-for-profit health plan. Kaiser Permanente offers both health insurance and health care, which has resulted in excellent reviews from customers and rating organizations. Kaiser Permanente does have limited service areas, and you typically need to stay in-network for services unless you’re experiencing an emergency.
- People in Kaiser Permanente service areas
- People who don’t mind managed care
- People who like to manage their care online
- Many services available in one location
- Ability to make appointments online or using an app
- Good customer service
- Limited service area
- Need to stay in the Kaiser Permanente network for most services
2. Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS)
An American icon, Blue Cross Blue Shield is a time-tested insurer made up of dozens of regional companies that span the U.S. Plan availability varies based on location, which is common in the health insurance industry but may be more pronounced with BCBS and its federation of health insurance companies.
Customers can expect a wide network of healthcare providers and a strong assortment of plans in most areas.
Blue Cross Blue Shield consists of 35 separate companies that provide health insurance for roughly one-third of Americans. The company serves all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and many international areas.
While you look into the BCBS affiliates near you, understand what health plans are available as well as the health insurance cost. It offers extensive coverage that gives just about every American the opportunity to purchase a BCBS-affiliated health plan. However, be sure to read up on the company because the premiums and deductibles may not suit you and your circumstances.
- Desire for a new doctor with plenty of options
- No cap on annual maximum limits
- Comprehensive coverage with exclusive discounts and partnerships
- Coverage in all 50 states and outside the country
- Covers both generic and brand-name drugs
- Wide network of doctors, hospitals and specialists
- Plans offered through regional companies, meaning you must look to your regional company for specific policies
- Main customer service helpline may be difficult to reach
Cigna, a popular choice with employers for group health insurance plans, also offers individual plans in 12 states throughout the U.S. Dental plans are also available over a wider geographic territory.
Cigna customers can expect an expansive network of doctors and a practical assortment of health insurance plans, including high-deductible plans that qualify for health savings accounts. Cigna does not offer short term health insurance plans.
Cigna Health Insurance offers low-cost private health insurance and Medicare Advantage and Supplement Plans for families and individuals. Founded in 1982 and based in Bloomfield, Connecticut, the company offers a wide array of health insurance plans including three Bronze plans, four Silver and one Gold. All Cigna plans are EPO plans, meaning they are all in-network. Free telehealth visits come with every plan and are available to customers 24/7.
The four-metal tier coverage plans include:
- Expanded bronze
Individual and family Cigna private insurance plans are all available on the Marketplace and through the Cigna website, as well as with licensed agents in each state. Because they are sold through the Marketplace, they can only be purchased during your state’s open enrollment period. Special enrollment periods apply for special circumstances.
- Easy access to benefits
- Pharmacy programs
- Savings and spending accounts such as HSA and FSA
- Supplemental plans
- Home delivery for prescriptions
- Health management mobile apps
- Easy ID card replacement
- Potentially high deductibles
- Not available in all 50 states
Available in 22 states, Humana is not only widely accessible but also a more affordable option. In some states, Humana can bundle dental and vision coverage with your health insurance coverage, providing an all-in-one solution that’s increasingly rare in the health insurance industry.
Like Cigna, Humana does not offer short-term plans but if your needs are longer-term, this insurer deserves a closer look.
It isn’t easy to choose a health insurance company. You want to ensure you select the best carrier that will offer you the ultimate protection and has an excellent reputation within the industry. With annual revenue in the billions, Louisville, Kentucky-based Humana Health Insurance Co. is one of the largest health insurance carriers in the U.S. and offers coverage for millions of people. Humana is available in all 50 states and sells individual insurance, Medicare plans and group health insurance plans to businesses.
- People ages 65 and older and looking to enroll in Medicare
- Extras such as dental and vision coverage
- Free fitness program
- A business of any size
- Partnerships with Walgreens and Walmart to bring you expanded prescription drug coverage
- Rewards for healthy habits
- Large provider network
- HMO plans only available in 22 of 50 states
- No short-term plans offered
- Costlier plan required if you need international coverage
Offering plans both privately and through the health marketplace exchanges, Aetna offers a broad range of healthcare plans, including dental and vision plans and even travel insurance. Aetna’s indemnity plans provide an affordable way to reduce costs for many common health services.
Health insurance costs vary by age and location, but consumers who are price conscious can expect Aetna’s health insurance plans to be more affordable than some other options.
In the past, Aetna health insurance plans were available on Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplaces across the country. Though Aetna no longer offers ACA-compliant plans, the company continues to make healthcare more affordable through Medicare Advantage Part D coverage and dental insurance plans.
Aetna’s Medicare options extend to most parts of the country, and premiums for Advantage plans begin at $0 a month. Part D coverage, which helps pay for prescription drugs, begins at about $7 a month in most states. Additionally, Aetna offers dental insurance and dental discount plan options that anyone who doesn’t have dental coverage through their employer can take advantage of. In addition, Aetna also offers a number of additional benefits not seen with other coverage providers, including discounts on prescription drugs and rewards for meeting health goals.
- Member support
- Offers multiple mobile app offerings to reward you for reaching fitness goals
- Dental discount plans may include coverage for prescription drugs
- Medicare Advantage plans available with no monthly premiums
- Vision insurance only available when purchased with a dental plan
- ACA-compliant health insurance no longer available
What Should I Know About Self-Employed Health Insurance?
The Affordable Care Act changed the health insurance landscape, introduced additional requirements for insurers and mandated coverage for consumers. The federal coverage mandate is no longer in place for consumers but some states, like New Jersey, have enacted state-level mandates for residents.
Even where not mandatory, health insurance can provide a safety net for you and your family. Often, it’s best to view insurance as coverage for the big expenses — the type of expenses that can change your lifestyle or leave you burdened with medical bills for years.
Like other types of insurance, health insurance has its own lingo and industry terms that affect how your coverage applies and which expenses you pay out-of-pocket. Become familiar with the most common terms because they can have a dramatic effect on your overall health insurance costs.
What Affects Health Insurance Costs?
Unlike other types of insurance, like home or auto insurance, where literally hundreds of factors can affect your rates, health insurance uses a limited number of individual rating factors that can affect your premiums.
- Age: Expect to pay more for your health insurance as you get older.
- Location: State rules and localized cost of services can affect your premiums.
- Tobacco use: Insurers can charge up to 50% more for tobacco users. However, some states prohibit the practice or limit the additional premium based on tobacco use.
- Individual vs. family: Plans that extend coverage to family members cost more than plans limited to individuals.
Plan features, such as the structure of the deductible or out-of-pocket limits, affect the cost of premiums as well.
What to Look for in a Self-Employed Health Insurance Plan
Each household has its own priorities. Some households may place physician choice above monthly cost. Other households might prioritize monthly affordability over occasional expenses, like higher copays or coinsurance.
While your priorities may differ from those of your neighbor, be aware of the potential costs when choosing a health insurance provider. The monthly premium for your health insurance only tells part of the story. In a year in which your healthcare needs are higher, your cost can skyrocket if you choose a plan that has lower premiums but which has higher deductibles, co-pays, coinsurance, or a higher maximum out-of-pocket limit.
You’ll find most of your options are from long-established and well-known health insurance providers. However, some plans or providers may offer options that are more advantageous for your household.
Get the Right Self-Employed Health Insurance
Self-employed health insurance premiums became 100% tax deductible in 2003 in many cases. This deduction reduces your taxable income by the amount of money you pay for health insurance premiums in the tax year. Tax rules and qualifications can change, so be sure to check current guidelines each year before taking the deduction on your 1040.
If you’re newly self-employed and still building your income, a subsidized marketplace plan may be the best solution in the short term. However, if you have significant savings or are able to regularly fund a health savings account, a high-deductible health insurance plan may be a more cost-effective solution that also provides more freedom.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the costs of self-employed health insurance?
The average prices range from $200 and $500 per month.
What factors impact self-employment health insurance?
Several factors influencing self-employment insurance include your location, age, tobacco usage, family and individual plans.