Whether you work for yourself or a company, most models are classified as independent contractors tax-wise. So, unless you have a day job where you can get group coverage or your parents or spouse can put you on their policies, you need health insurance. If you’re not covered, you’ll need to become familiar with Affordable Care Act health coverage and insurance options in your state.
That’s not as big a hassle as you may think.
YNOTCam spoke to an insurance professional who explained, “Health insurance is required by federal law. If you are self-employed and do not have coverage from a spouse or parent, the free market offers coverage to all on a ‘guaranteed acceptance’ basis. Be aware, the open enrollment is in the fall [starting Nov. 1] for January, and if you fail to enroll you can’t buy coverage until the following January, unless you have a special event like a child, marriage or move to a different state.”
Tons of online resources exist to help the uninsured figure out “Obamacare,” starting with the mother of all U.S. healthcare websites, Healthcare.gov. You’ll find all the tools and info you need for your state to figure out whether you qualify, how much various plans will cost, whether you qualify for special exemptions and how to apply online.
In fact, you may feel overwhelmed by trying to figure out the best deal for you. That’s where a qualified insurance broker can be a huge help. Especially in the changing marketplace, a good broker should be aware of the latest changes in the market, as well as coverage alternatives if you don’t qualify for Obamacare.
“Each state also offers coverage through an ‘exchange,’ where people with certain incomes can qualify for subsidies — Medi-Cal, for example. Be very careful to explore the plan differences, deductibles, co-payments and providers choices,” our professional advised. “Health insurance is complex, and exploring coverage is not for the average lay person. Seek out an insurance broker who will take the time to walk you through the maze of options.”
Deductibles, especially with less expensive plans available through Obamacare, can be daunting — an out-of-pocket cost of several thousand dollars if you have a medical emergency or require surgery, as well as other hospital costs that may not be covered. So, unless you’re healthy and not suffering from any chronic conditions, you may want to opt for a higher level of coverage. If you need several prescriptions, see a therapist regularly, plan on seeing a doctor more than three or four times a year, then you may need a more expensive plan.
Another thing to consider: Some brokers also may recommend you take additional “catastrophic” insurance which pays out in the event of an accident or major illness.
So, it pays to do your homework. Broker websites, as well as many consumer publications, offer research tools. The Motley Fool has tips for how to get the best deal and save some money.
What happens if you don’t have insurance?
“You have to own coverage or you will pay penalties for not having health insurance. These can get costly and can be big surprises when filing taxes,” our broker warned.
You can estimate the cost of not having insurance here.
As a model and a human being, your health should be a priority. Taking care of yourself needs to be on your agenda, including regular OB/GYN exams and sexually transmitted infections testing. Even if you feel awesome everyday — because you rock! — good health is an important investment.
Plus, you’ll feel a lot better if you ever end up in urgent care.