Finding Health Insurance when Self-employed

Subject: Finding Health Insurance when Self-employed
From: MWN <MNorton -at- FORMMAKER -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 1996 12:50:30 EST

Thanks to everyone who responded to my question. It seems there are a
lot of people interested in this topic. Here is a summary of the
information I received, plus some additional information. The
information is grouped into three categories: recommendations,
general tips, and miscellaneous information. -- Mike Norton

Recommendations:

One respondent found adequate health insurance with a PPO called
Alliance through an independent insurance agent. This plan is a group
plan for otherwise unaffiliated self-employed people. Call an
independent agent for information.
---------

Another respondent, who lives in California, said he is very happy
with Kaiser. Full coverage for him and his wife is about $200/month
($5 copayment and 100% hospitalization).
---------

Another respondent suggested contacting the Individual Health Division
of Washington National Insurance Company, 1615 Orrington Avenue,
Evanston, Illinois 60201 (no details or comments given).
---------

Another respondent stated that her company has a policy with Employers
Health (800 558-4444) and they have been pleased with the coverage
overall. Employers Health is a PPO. The respondent said the rates are
reasonable, and the annual increases have been fairly low. She did not
know if they covered one-person companies, but they do cover
two-person companies.
----------

Another respondent suggested contacting the National Association for
the Self Employed (NASE) and the National Organization for Women
(NOW). (For more information about NASE contact Russ Novak at
1-800-NASE-911, or e-mail nase-911 -at- ultranet -dot- com)
----------

In Utah, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and some local HMO's offer health
insurance for individuals and/or families not covered by an employer
plan.
----------


General Tips:

Check with any professional organizations you belong to; some offer
health insurance plans to their members. There are also some national
small business associations that offer health insurance plans for
self-employed people.

* Check with IEEE and see if you can join that organization as a full
member or an associate. IEEE has plans for their members. IEEE
membership phone number: 800 678-4333 (http://www.computer.org); IEEE
insurance information: 800 493 4333.

* STC has an arrangement with Mutual of Omaha. If you are a member of
STC, you will find information about the health care plan in the
annual membership directory. You can also contact STC at
http://www.stc.org or call Mutual of Omaha at 800 223-6927.

* The print trades have an association that provides them with
everything from liability insurance, health insurance, and credit
union. Ask your printer about it. Technical writers, designers,
illustrators are qualified to participate in these associations as
affiliated professions.

* The Independent Computer Consultants Association (ICCA) provides
insurance to its members through The Travelers Insurance Co. and
National Benefits Corporation. To request a quote and or apply contact
Patricia Tobin of Daniel & Henry Co. at 1-800-285-4222. For more
information about the ICCA, call 314/892-1675 or 800/774-4222. Or,
visit their web site at http://www.icca.org. You can email them at
70007 -dot- 1407 -at- compuserve -dot- com

* Contact the Home Office Association of America
(http://www.hoaa.com/main.htm). By joining this association ($49 per
year) you can benefit from their associated health insurance plans.
There are other benefits as well, such as discounts on computers,
travel, and phone charges.
---------

Contact an insurance broker. They can track down companies and give
you summary information on rates and benefits. You can find a list of
brokers in your area in the yellow pages. Or, get a referral from the
person who handles your life insurance or retirement investments to
avoid some of the less reputable insurance brokers.
---------

Ask your doctor's office manager about good plans for self-employed
people. Office managers are often good sources of information.
---------

Check with HMOs, like Kaiser Permanente, Columbia, Horizon, Humana,
and so on. These companies often offer plans which are good for
healthy younger families and singles who usually don't suffer from
severe or chronic illness.
---------

Contact your state insurance commissioner for advice. If that doesn't
lead to anything, check the Yellow Pages. Call all of the carriers and
ask them to send you information about their plans. Make a spreadsheet
to compare the benefits and plans. Compare them carefully. Just
because one plan has a lower premium doesn't mean it will cost you
less. For instance, it may not cover prescription drugs while another
plan might.
---------

Visit an STC C&IC PIC meeting. You can get information about when and
where from your nearest STC chapter. These folks all have the same
problem you have. You will probably get some great information about
minimizing cost.
---------

If you are leaving a permanent employer to strike out on your own,
consider keeping your current insurance via COBRA. You human resources
personnel can tell you how long it will last (can vary depending on
the state you are in and the size of the company). Through COBRA, you
pay the premium, but your charged at the same rate your company is
charged.
---------

If you do have chronic illnesses, and find that no insurance company
will carry you, many states have something like a state-funded
comprehensive health insurance pool, administered by major insurance
providers that provide insurance for those who have been denied
coverage for health reasons.
---------

Miscellaneous Information:

Employers frequently provide one type of health plan ("gold") for
executives, and another, far less comprehensive, for the rank and
file.
--------

Be sure to ask how large the group is and the history of premium
increases. Also investigate how any preconditions are handled.
--------


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