If you’ve ever worked as an employee for a company that offered benefits, you know what it’s like to get healthcare coverage. In most situations, all you had to do was sign the paperwork, make a few basic decisions, and your health insurance card arrived in the mail.
Being a gig worker is a very different story. As you know, you’re an independent contractor, sometimes called a 1099 worker, and the companies you drive for don’t offer health care insurance. Your 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 everything you need to know about getting health insurance. We’ll help you find solutions that allow you to get the health care coverage you need, even as an independent contractor. Here are the topics to be covered:
- Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC): What it is and how you can get it
- Get expert help in choosing, and securing, the right plan
TIME SENSITIVE!! The COVID-19 crisis has created the need to open up a special window for enrollment. You can sign up for plans between February 15, 2021 and August 15, 2021. Don’t miss out! Click here to find out more.
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 care plans. This was known as minimum essential coverage (MEC) and included ten essential health benefits for which coverage was required under the ACA.
An individual health plan that meets the MEC requirements must include:
- Coverage of the essential health benefits, including testing, treatment and vaccination for COVID-19;
- Be Guarantee Issue. For instance, if you have diabetes or a heart condition, a plan that meets MEC requirements cannot turn you down. The cost of your premium will depend on your age, whether you use tobacco products, your zip code, how many people you want the policy to cover, and how much healthcare coverage you choose;
- Coverage of pre-existing conditions. Once you have a plan, it must cover treatment for all of your conditions, even if they were diagnosed before your plan was effective;
- 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.
It’s important to be aware of non-MEC Short Term Medical (STM) plans, since they’re quite a bit different. First, they are NOT MEC, and cannot be subsidized the same way plans that qualify as MEC would be. Also, while STM plans are less expensive than an ACA plan if you do not qualify for a subsidy, they may have internal limits and many do not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions. For many people, the cost and the flexibility of STM plans make them a good fit, but it is always wise to speak with a licensed insurance agent to understand your options before deciding to enroll in a STM plan. If you want help comparing your options you can call IHC Specialty Benefits at 888-369-3053 to speak with a licensed agent.
When you’re ready to purchase your insurance plan, you can visit this page to review options. There are also other types of plans you can use rather than going through the Marketplace, 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).
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.
Get expert help in choosing, and securing, the right plan
When you’re on the journey to securing a healthcare plan, you need a guide. That is why IHC Specialty Benefits has a program for drivers like you. Just like a Sherpa guide leading climbers up and through the Himalayas, IHC Specialty Benefits helps you find a solid path to securing healthcare coverage under the ACA. For drivers who use Gridwise, these agents will provide individualized service in helping you find a plan.
With IHC Specialty Benefits, all you need to do is click here and get more information about:
- Whether you qualify for a premium tax credit
- Whether you can get a cost-sharing reduction
IHC Specialty Benefits won’t push you toward any plan or sign you up without your consent. You will eliminate hours (and possibly days) sorting through options on the Health Insurance Marketplace.
As for the enrollment periods, they are windows of time through which applications are accepted for major health plans. An Open Enrollment Period (OEP), typically takes place in November and December; and Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs), are created when individuals have a qualifying event, such as the loss of job-based health benefits, having a baby, losing a spouse’s coverage, and other life-changing circumstances.
For a limited period of time, you qualify for a new Special Enrollment Period enacted by the federal government due to turmoil created by COVID-19 crisis:
The COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period (Feb 15-Aug 15, 2021) is for anyone in a state that enrolls in ACA plans. During this time period, you can get new coverage or switch to a different plan. Follow this link for more information on this program.
Healthcare coverage within reach
Anyone could easily feel intimidated by the thought of applying for healthcare coverage without help, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you. Now that you know about IHC’s relationship with Gridwise, you can see that healthcare coverage for drivers is definitely within reach.
Click here to find out if you qualify for a premium subsidy or cost-sharing reduction and choose from 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 healthcare coverage? 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/