You will be considered self-employed if you run your own business, as a partnership or as a sole proprietor. You can get the benefits of self-employment even if you are working alone and have no other employees.
When you are self-employed, it is your responsibility to buy health insurance for yourself and your employees.There are a few situations which determines how and from where you can buy health insurance.
- When you have no employees – You may be working alone without a single employee, then you will be considered as a small group of 1. Only a few states allow self-employed people with no employees to buy small group health insurance. In other states, you can buy small group health insurance only through an insurance agent or company. Buying an individual health insurance plan is the best option in these cases. If you can buy small group health insurance in your state it will most probably come with guaranteed issue. Some states are an exception like, Iowa, New York and Louisiana.
- When you have at least one employee – If you have at least one employee working for you, your options of buying group health insurance increases. You can buy through an agent or from the insurance company directly or from the health insurance marketplace. However, if your spouse or business partner is working with you, they will not be considered your employees.
Ways You Can Buy a Health Insurance
As an employer of a small group of employees or a non-employer, you can buy health insurance through three ways –
Health Insurance Through an Agent –
A lot of people prefer buying health insurance through an agent since it is the most convenient way. Buying health insurance is a complicated process – lots of things to compare and consider. An agent can guide you through the process and do the groundwork for you– he can also give you the right advice regarding your best options whether you are buying individual plans or group plans. The services of the insurance agent are also helpful for solving the insurance issues of the employees.
Health Insurance Directly from the Company –
It is also possible to buy health insurance directly from the company without going through an agent. In this case, you would have to do all the research before choosing the most suitable,on your own. A lot of the insurance related work for your employees would have to be done by you.
Health Insurance Through the Health Exchange –
Employers with 1 to 50 employees can buy health insurance plans from the Small Business Health Options (SHOP).
There are some conditions for buying a SHOP plan.
- There has to be at least one employee and not more than fifty employees.
- At least one employee has to be enrolled into the plan first, before you can join the plan
- Tax-credit benefits for companies with less than twenty-five employees if they fulfill the criteria.
Types of Health Insurance Plans
The type of health insurance plan you buy is an important consideration in the process of buying health insurance. There are so many different types of plans with varying coverage and costs. You should know the details before you decide which type to choose. The basic types of plans are –
- Preferred Physician Organization (PPO)
- Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
- Point of Service (POS)
- High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHP)
- Fee-For Service (FFS)
So, if you have one employee or fifty employees, you can buy small group health insurance plans which will serve the best interests of your employees and you.