Open Enrollment Ends 12/15/17 - Elizabeth Stapleton
Elizabeth Stapleton
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Open Enrollment Ends 12/15/17

When you’re self-employed, you are responsible for everything. This includes health insurance, unless you qualify through a family member. For my 30 year old self, I can no longer get health insurance through my parents and since I’m not married, I don’t qualify to be on a spouse’s insurance.

I’ll be honest, for most of my first year of self-employment I did without health insurance. While I have yet to have any catastrophic (knock on wood) event, I will still need to pay a penalty for not being covered.

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The Law and the Tax Penalty

Under the Affordable Care Act those that don’t have health insurance must pay a penalty of 2.5% of their income or $695 (per adult), whichever is greater.

Wait, didn’t they get rid of that in the new Tax Bill?

Yes, but the earliest it would take effect in 2018 and right now we are still waiting for the dust to settle to see what will be happening.

Health Insurance When You’re Self-Employed

There are a number of ways you can sign up for health insurance when you’re self employed, but it’s important you do it now since open enrollment will be ending December 15, 2017.

Which means you need to have decided what you will be doing insurance wise for 2018, by mid December.

If you don’t make a lot of money you may qualify for subsidized health insurance. However, if next year you end up making significantly more, you will be required to payback part if not all of the subsidy.

Health Insurance for Small Businesses

If you run a small business with employees the open enrollment period means it impacts more than just you. However, thanks to the Qualified Small Entity Health Reimbursement Arrangement (say that 5 times fast) small business owners can offer quality health insurance without the hassle of traditional group plans.

It allows businesses with fewer than 50 employees to reimburse, tax free, health insurance premiums and medical expenses. This gives your employees the option to choose their own insurance plan.

Where to Sign Up for Health Insurance

You can sign up through healthcare.gov or sites like Take Command Health. Both sites will walk you through figuring out the right coverage for your situation based on your age, overall healthy, preferred doctors, and any prescriptions you may need.

Signing Up for Affordable Dental and Vision Coverage

While healthy insurance is required, dental and vision isn’t. However, they are great to have particularly if you have dental or vision issues.

Take Command Health offers individuals the option of membership. For $15/month you can have the ability to call a doctor with questions for $0, get discounts on vision and dental work, and set up your own HSA.

Wrapping it Up with a Bow on Top

The fact is that even if the penalty for not having health insurance goes away in 2018, not having to pay an arm and a leg for medical treatment because you don’t have insurance is a headache you don’t need. Give yourself peace of mind in 2018 and enroll before the deadline December 15, 2017. 

About the Author Elizabeth Stapleton

Elizabeth Stapleton is the founder and voice behind Less Debt More Wine and ElizabethStapleton.com. She is a Pinterest marketer, online entrepreneur, and recovering attorney whose writing has been featured on Entrepreneur.com, The Huffington Post, The Penny Hoarder, Budgets Are Sexy, Credit Sesame, and Magnify Money. Additionally, she has been quoted in articles on Business Insider, Student Loan Hero, and Nerd Wallet.

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