Here’s everything rideshare drivers need to know about health insurance


Now, drivers with 2021 unemployment income can get low-cost health insurance

If you’ve ever worked as an employee for a company that offered benefits, you know what it’s like to get health insurance coverage. In most situations, all you had to do was make a few basic decisions, sign the paperwork, and your health insurance card arrived in the mail. 

Being a gig worker is a very different story. Often, you’re an independent contractor, sometimes called a 1099 worker, and the companies you drive for don’t offer health insurance. Your health care needs, though, are still the same as if you were working full time as an employee. 

Checkups, medications, and other treatments are forms of medical care everybody needs from time to time. With the price of care being what it is these days, it’s virtually impossible to pay cash for these services, let alone for the cost of a more catastrophic health crisis. What can you do?

In this article, we’ll show you lots that you need to know about getting health insurance, including new information that makes getting it even easier. Here are topics to be covered:

  • New options through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP)
  • Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC): What it is and how you can get it
  • What could stand between you and a plan
  • How to get expert help in choosing, and securing, the right plan
  • No more fear—let IHC Specialty Benefits help find the right health insurance plan for you

New options through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP)

Before going into the basics of getting health insurance, there’s some new and crucial information to consider. If you are eligible for or have collected unemployment income for at least one week in 2021, you may be eligible for a low or even $0 premium health insurance plan. 

Under the American Rescue Plan Act, drivers who can prove they were eligible for unemployment benefits in 2021 and are not classified as dependents, may be eligible for full premium subsidies and the most robust cost-sharing reductions. This means that qualifying drivers will pay $0- or very low premiums, and may also be eligible for extra savings that may keep their deductibles, copays, and other out-of-pocket costs to a minimum. Premium subsidies and reductions will be available, if a Silver plan is selected, for the remainder of 2021. This will be the case as long as they don’t become eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or an employer’s plan before year’s end.

If you’ve applied to get health insurance before July 1, have collected unemployment income, and did not receive these benefits, apply again! Under the provisions of ARP, you’ll benefit from reduced costs and get the premium health insurance every driver deserves. 

Note: Even if you are eligible for unemployment, you won’t automatically get the benefits if you don’t re-apply. Also, you must complete your resubmission within the Special Enrollment Period, which ends on August 15, 2021.

Contact IHC Specialty Benefits today to find out if you qualify for a subsidy or payment reduction and get a wide selection of plans that will work for you.

Now, let’s get into the ABCs of health insurance, and how you can get it whether or not you were eligible for unemployment in 2021.

Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC): What it is and how you can get it

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in March 2010, it stipulated the minimum requirements for health insurance plans. This was known as minimum essential coverage (MEC) and included ten essential health benefits for which coverage was required under the ACA.

There are options known as “skinny plans,” which are low-cost, low-coverage plans that don’t meet the minimum requirements of the ACA. Therefore, they cannot be subsidized the same way plans that qualify as MEC would be. If you buy a skinny plan, you could end up with insurance that has spotty coverage, doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, and has a sky-high deductible. Choosing an ACA plan with minimum essential coverage requirements can protect you from that kind of nightmare.

A plan that meets the MEC requirements1 must include:

  • Coverage of the essential health benefits, including testing, treatment and vaccination for COVID-19;
  • Coverage of pre-existing conditions. For instance, if you have diabetes or a heart condition, a plan that meets MEC requirements cannot turn you down. Your premium will vary based on your lifestyle choices and circumstances. If you smoke, drink alcohol excessively, are older, or live in a high-risk area, your premiums are likely to be higher. The cost of your premium will also depend on how many people you want the policy to cover, and how much healthcare coverage you want to have.
  • No annual or lifetime limits on essential health benefits. That means if you need expensive tests or extensive treatment, the insurance company isn’t permitted to stop paying even after your expenses reach a certain level.

When you’re ready to purchase your insurance plan, you can visit IHC Specialty Benefits to review all the options. There are also other types of plans you can use, such as a parent’s group health plan (if you’re under the age of 26), student and/or veterans’ health plans (if you qualify), and Medicaid (if you meet certain criteria). If you have any of these plans, or if you need to find out if you qualify, you’ll have some homework to do.

If you purchase your own plan, you may qualify for reductions in your insurance costs, particularly if you’ve recently had a reduction in hours and/or income from your job. This can be handy for drivers who’ve experienced downturns in business. Before you reach that point, however, you’ll have to clear a few hurdles.

What could stand between you and a plan

When you don’t know how to do something, it can seem impossible. How do you know, for instance, if you qualify for a veterans’ program or Medicaid? Should you sign up for community college and get a student plan? And, if you decide to purchase a plan, how do you know what kind is best for you?

As a driver, you’re among the self-employed. This page on the Healthcare.gov website is specifically for self-employed individuals and gives you an idea of what to expect if you apply directly for an ACA healthcare plan.

While the ACA is the government’s attempt to supply consumers with easy ways to get affordable health care, the website can be confusing to navigate and filling out the government form can be cumbersome. Then there are the enrollment periods. When will they take your application for a plan? 

Even if you get your timing right and start to enroll on the ACA site, you’ll have to answer a number of questions, figure out if you’re asking the right questions, and hope the person on the other end can help you get the plan you need. 

And then what happens? At what point do you have to sign up, and what if you’re not sure you want to sign up yet? Finding the answers to all these questions can be tiring and time-consuming. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easier way?

There is.

How to get expert help in choosing, and securing, the right plan

When you’re on an arduous journey like the one you must take toward securing a health-care plan, you need a guide. That’s why IHC Specialty Benefits is here to help you. Just like a guide leading climbers up and through the Himalayas, IHC Specialty Benefits helps you find the fastest, easiest path to securing health insurance. 

With IHC Specialty Benefits, all you need to do is provide some basic information about you and your household. Then, IHC Specialty Benefits will help determine:

  • Whether you qualify for a premium tax credit
  • Whether you can get a cost-sharing reduction
  • Whether you qualify for special plans

IHC Specialty Benefits won’t push you toward any plan or sign you up without your consent. With just a few minutes of your time and speaking to a licensed insurance agent, you may be able to save hours (and possibly days) sorting through options on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

No more fear—let IHC Specialty Benefits help find the right health insurance plan for you 

Since the COVID-19 crisis created so much turmoil for people trying to get affordable health coverage, a new Special Enrollment Period (SEP) has been set up. If you have collected unemployment income for at least one week in 2021 and meet the criteria stipulated by the SEP, you may be eligible for a $0- or low premium health insurance plan. But hurry, the deadline to enroll is August 15, 2021.

Anyone could easily feel intimidated by the thought of applying for health-care coverage without help, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you. Now that you know about IHC Specialty Benefits’ partnership with Gridwise, you can see that health insurance for drivers is definitely within reach. 

Contact IHC Specialty Benefits today to find out if you qualify for a subsidy or payment reduction and get a wide selection of plans that will work for you. 

Isn’t it a relief to know there’s a great company like IHC Specialty Benefits to help drivers get affordable health insurance? Yeah, we think so too.

1What Marketplace health insurance plans cover. Retrieved 4 March, 2021 from https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage/what-marketplace-plans-cover/


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