By the sheer definition of who they are, entrepreneurs are risk-takers. Many have quit a 9-5 job to start their own business without a financial safety-net, living month-to-month, not 100% certain that the mortgage or rent (let alone everything else) will be covered next month.
One of the biggest risks entrepreneurs take is with their health. A recent Gallup Poll revealed 25% of entrepreneurs don’t have health insurance, compared to 10% of other workers. Gallup says that, “the reason for that difference is not clear, but it could either reflect the high cost of health insurance for individuals and small business owners, or a greater willingness on the part of entrepreneurs to accept the risks inherent in not having health insurance.”
Health Insurance for entrepreneurs as individuals – and even entrepreneurs with families – doesn’t have to be expensive. As someone who has been “self employed” for almost three years, I’ve relied on a plan through Regence that covers prescriptions, office visits, and lab work. While some of my “employed” friends have luxurious benefits such as acupuncture and unlimited chiropractic visits via their health insurance, I’m at least covered should I have a true health emergency – without it breaking the bank.
Of course, the cost of a health insurance plan can still add up – My $233/mo plan isn’t exactly cheap, especially for those who have a business that’s not making much revenue yet. The good thing that entrepreneurs tend to be healthier than the average worker. Gallup found that, “Entrepreneurs report better health habits than other workers. [They] are more likely than other employed adults to say they exercise frequently (60% vs. 54%) or eat fruits and vegetables regularly (61% vs. 55%) and are more likely to say they ate healthy all day “yesterday” (67% vs. 61%). However, smoking rates were about equal among entrepreneurs and other U.S. workers.”
Since entrepreneurs are apparently not only risky, but also healthy, health insurance for entrepreneurs could be more of an option. That said, it may be worth looking into if a plan could potentially save you money on prescriptions or just reducing the cost of an office visit, since insurance plans will only “allow” your doctor to charge you a certain amount for a visit. Consider comparing plans via a site like ehealthinsurance, or check out plans offered by trade groups like the Freelancers Union or the WTIA, which offer employee-like group plans to their members.
If you’re an entrepreneur, how did you choose – and afford – your health insurance plan? We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments!