Over the past few months, we’ve been working on an idea called “Portable Benefits,” which aims to protect independent workers when you’re sick, injured, or it’s time to retire. Good health insurance is a critical part of the safety net, but finding the best plan can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re excited to partner with Stride Health to power health insurance recommendations and enrollments for Peers members, typically saving you $418 per year on health care.
The Affordable Care Act (aka The ACA or “Obamacare”) requires that everyone in the US enroll in a health insurance plan, or pay a hefty fine. So this partnership’s not a moment too soon, as:
This Tuesday, December 15, is the last day to enroll or change plans for coverage starting January 1, 2016
Fortunately, Stride can find you and your family the most cost-effective plan, and get you covered in 10 minutes or less. They take into account 38 factors, including your prescriptions, favorite doctors, and whether you qualify for a subsidy. After enrolling in a plan, they find you prescription discounts and help you take advantage of your plan’s free benefits, like immunizations and screenings. As such, their on-call experts are available to help resolve any issues.
Qualify for Subsidies
Depending on your income, the government may help you pay for your health plan. In fact, 8 in 10 people shopping for on-exchange plans can find options for $100 a month or less. Your subsidy amount is determined by a few factors, like your zip code, household size, and annual income.
Time to Switch
The average premium increased 7-10% from 2015 to 2016; which, for a family of 4 could amount to an extra $1,000 per year for the exact same plan. In some states, premiums are increasing 32-38%! Even if you were happy with your health care in 2015, you should consider switching plans to avoid these premium increases.
You can enroll in a new plan or switch from an existing one until January 31, 2016, but you would be uninsured and at risk until then. After January 31, you can only enroll in a 2016 health plan if you have a “qualifying event,” like getting married or having a baby.
Avoid Stiff Penalties
If you don’t buy health insurance, you’ll pay a fine of whichever is higher: 2.5% of household income, or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child. But paying the fine doesn’t mean you’ll have health coverage – you’ll still be responsible for 100% of the costs of your medical care.
Deduct Insurance Premiums
As an independent contractor, 100% of your health insurance premiums, including vision and dental insurance, may be tax deductible. This insurance can cover you, your spouse, your dependents or any of your children who are under age 27 at the end of 2015, even if they are not listed as dependents on your tax return. The insurance policy can be in the name of either your business or yourself. This means that the premiums you pay directly reduce your adjusted gross income and reduce your ordinary taxes. (Details in an upcoming post)
Strengthen Your Safety Net
Ultimately, you want health insurance. It gives you access to routine care, keeps you from going bankrupt in the event of a catastrophic injury, and, investments in preventative care will enhance your quality of life. The Affordable Care Act has improved the quality of insurance accessibility and coverage, but it’s still extremely difficult to navigate. Stride is the easiest way we’ve found to get the coverage you need at the best price. We’re excited to be working with them and you will be too.