For many self-employed contractors working in the wake of the housing bubble, the idea of having medical insurance for themselves is seen as a splurge and an unaffordable luxury. This is especially true if a spouse is insured through work and the children are covered; most contractors see no problem roughing it out through sickness and injury if it means saving some serious monthly income. But this can spiral into dangerous long-term risks of unemployment following on-the-job injury or any other number of health concerns that risk your livelihood. An interesting statistic to consider, whether or not it applies to you: Hispanics working non-union jobs are half as likely to have medical insurance, or seguro medico, than their unionized counterparts, and are therefore far less likely to seek medical attention in any preventive fashion.
Self-employed construction workers who neglect to get medical insurance, regardless of their ethnic background, are much less likely to participate in check-ups or seek assistance for anything other than serious bodily injury. Yet the overwhelming number of medical maladies that could inhibit someone from engaging in physically active labor is chronic or otherwise non-emergency ailments. The idea that as long as you watch your step you won't need the doctor is ridiculous when you really consider the kinds of unforeseen health problems that could arise in your life at any moment. Finding out that not seeing the doctor after weeks of feeling stiff as a board after driving to and from your job site means you're now unable to work the rest of the summer is unacceptable to most contractors, yet individual medical insurance is often as unacceptable.
Resources For Finding Insurance Coverage
Before you decide to risk your future wages on not getting hurt in a dangerous profession, there are plenty of resources you can exhaust to try and net yourself a relatively inexpensive yet comprehensive health plan.
Get On Your Spouse's Plan
The first one alluded to earlier, is do everything you can to try and get on a spouses plan if possible. An increased premium is obviously cheaper than your own insurance, but it's most certainly cheaper than the cost of a serious job-related injury or other long-term problem.
Get Cobra Insurance
If you were recently laid off or about to be, COBRA is the way to go, if a more worthwhile severance package isn't offered. The federal government grants employees access to a former employer's insurance for up to a year and a half, but with the added premium and higher costs. This might seem like a shock to the system after receiving the same benefits for much less, but it's guaranteed to be cheaper than the alternative.
Local Contractor's Guilds Or Associations
Once those 18 months are up, or if you were always self-contracted, then look into local contractors' guilds and similar members' organizations who oftentimes have discounted group rates with certain insurance companies. The only drawback is that plans tend to be barebones.
Make Sure To Have Insurance
Playing the no-insurance game is always a big risk, but even bigger if your money relies on the dependability of your strength. The monthly savings are tempting, but they won't matter if they're ultimately spent on uninsured medical treatment.
Are you currently self employed, and living without insurance? Have you had a situation were glad you got insurance coverage? Tell us about it.