Obamacare and the Independent Contractor

Sept22.NailSalonHow will Obamacare affect the majority of professionals working in the beauty industry today who are independent contractors, or self-employed?

If you’re an independent contractor and presently uninsured, you should know that health insurance will be required by law in 2014. If you already have an individual policy, you may benefit from tax credits, especially if you have a lower income.

The great thing about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), especially for those with any pre-existing conditions is it had been extremely difficult to secure a policy, not to mention expensive. As of January 1, 2014, medical history will no longer be taken into account to determine how much a policy will cost, or whether one can even obtain a policy. Premiums will be based on geographical area, age, and tobacco use.

Individual health insurance will be available to purchase during specific open enrollment periods only: An initial 6-month period from October 1, 2013-March 31, 2014, and then from October 15-December 7 each year.

Health insurance policies are offered through a state’s “exchange,” (also known as a “marketplace”), an insurance carrier, or an individual broker. A broker can help answer questions and figure out whether you qualify for a subsidy based on household income—either a premium subsidy (which helps pay for the cost of insurance itself) or cost-sharing subsidy (which lowers the out-of-pocket expense the insured must pay, usually in the form of a deductible, coinsurance or copay). If you’re an adult under 30 with economic hardship, a catastrophic plan may be a better option for you.

Here’s the harsh reality of being uninsured: If you’re in an accident or you have cancer, for example, and you make a visit to the ER because you’re in pain, the only obligation of the hospital is that they stabilize you (either until you die, or are able to walk out on your own). If
further treatment cannot be paid for (and Medicaid is not an option), the surgery that might save your life won’t be offered to you.

With so many affordable options for health insurance, it almost doesn’t make any sense not to have any.