Future Healthy: A story of insurance, parenting and self-employment
As my family prepares to move to a new location, I'm thinking about healthcare costs. Since I'm making a permanent move to a new ZIP code, this counts as a qualifying life event - I can change my health insurance plan if I want to. However, as someone who's been self-employed for a few years now, health care costs are always on the forefront of my mind.
Luckily, I've been able to latch onto my husband's health plan for the last two years, so I didn't have to navigate the complicated world of health insurance. As we prepare to move though, I can't help but wonder if it's a better idea to branch out on my own.
Searching for an HDHP
One of the ways I thought I could save on money is to look for a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). Not only would I be saving on premiums, but it may also help me to qualify for a HSA. I've considered getting one as it'll help with saving on recurring health-related expenses. I've also thought about using it as an emergency fund of sorts and another way to lower my income tax bracket.
Truth be told, I'm getting confused looking at health insurance plans because not all HDHPs are HSA-eligible. Typically, as long as there's no insurance coverage until you meet the deductible and/or the deductible is higher than a typical health insurance plan, you're good.
Unfortunately, with my variable income, it's hard to predict if I can meet those out-of-pocket expenses with contributions to an HSA.
Taking my son into consideration
Another thing I'm worried about is my 3-year old son. One of the many conversations I'm having with my husband is whether to keep our son on his plan, or get my own insurance to cover him.
Right now, my husband is transitioning to a new job, which adds to the uncertainty of the whole situation. If his employer helps to cover some of my son's premiums, then it absolutely makes sense to stay on my husband's plan. However, we're looking at potentially higher costs if we switch.
Frankly, I'm fine with switching over if it's less, but not at the cost of my son's health. As parents of young children surely know, kids at this age are naturally curious. I'd love to have an HSA as a backup in case we need the money for unexpected health care expenses, but I'm not willing to get a lesser insurance plan just to do so.
Comparing my husband's offering first
I'd love to say that I've already made my choice and it was easy. Right now, we're not sure what we want to do. Sticking with my husband's plan could work if he can choose a HSA-eligible HDHP. Even better if his employer contributes to this HSA. However, if I can find an insurance plan that's cheaper for me as a self-employed individual, then of course I want to save as much as I can.
This is just my story, and it'll be a few more weeks until we're able to see what my husband's employer offers. Until then, I'm going to focus on packing my belongings and hoping for a smooth transition for my family. But at least we'll be ready to decide, by researching all of our options, and choosing the plan that best fits our growing family's needs.
If you're self-employed and wondering what to do when it comes to health insurance, don't fret. If your spouse or partner has some decent options, stick with that first. Unless you're single, it's mostly likely your best bet.
Otherwise, you can shop around at the Freelancers Union, The National Association for the Self-Employed or with The National Association of Health Underwriters to find a local agent who understands your needs and can help you find an affordable option.
For ow-ees and boo-boos
Whether it's for covering medical expenses, or planning bigger investments, our Future Healthy column will help support your path to retirement, no matter where you are on the journey. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to check out our HSA Learning Center, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.