If you are not covered under a spouse’s benefit plan or some other type of insurance, what are your options?
- You can go without coverage. A sad statistic in this country is that an estimated 55 million Americans (as of 2012 survey) are without health insurance and that number continues to rise. And a large percentage of those people are small business owners.
- You can purchase coverage directly from an insurance company. Make sure you specifically ask if they offer any plans for Small Businesses/Sole Proprietors that you can try to qualify for. My insurance company didn't tell me about this program up front, I had to ask about it after I saw an article in the newspaper.
- You can purchase a plan through another organization (Chamber of Commerce, Music Unions, Professional Art Groups, Small Business Benefit Providers, etc.) if you qualify. Contact your local chamber of commerce or check your phone book for companies that assist people in finding insurance plans.
- Check if your state government has programs that provide low cost insurance or some type of insurance assistance. In New York state there is a program called Healthy NY for those without insurance but there are restrictions such as you have to have been uninsured for at least 1 year.
If you live in New York State, you can check www.nyshmoguide.org. It offers a guide for consumers to compare HMO's on the basis of price and performance.
- Other places to find insurance information:
One of the best resources I’ve seen for finding insurance information is www.ahirc.org. This is not just for actors. It has all kinds of information organized by state.
www.nase.org National Association for the Self-Employed
www.nfib.com The National Federation of Independent Business (Look under “Issues” and then “Health Care” category.
www.healthinsuranceinfo.net Created by Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, it provides Consumer Guides on Health Insurance for each of the 50 states in the US. (Note that the website lost it's funding and information is no longer updated regularly as of this writing.)
www.ahrq.gov Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
www.insurancejournal.com News, articles, forums and resources about the insurance industry.
http://covertheuninsured.org/ Help for those with no health insurance.
http://mychristiancare.org/medi-share/ Medi-Share Insurance Program for Christians. Not available in all states. As with any insurance program, you will want to check out reviews and thoroughly research before signing up. An article with some comments about Medishare can be found here: http://www.moneyhelpforchristians.com/medishare-review-experience/
- There are some resources that may be able to help with prescription drug costs if you have no insurance, or your coverage doesn't cover the drugs you need:
www.needymeds.org Great web site with all kinds of drug assistance programs listed by state.
www.rxassist.org/ RX Assist; Patient Assistance Program Center.
www.rxhope.com/ RxHope- helping people obtain the critical drugs they need if they have trouble affording them.
www.pparx.org/ Partnership for Prescription Assistance Program.
www.proactrx.com ProAct; A Free Prescription Drug Discount Program for residents of NY state that has no age or income restrictions. They also offer discounts on vision and hearing products and exams in some areas.
https://nyprescriptionsaver.fhsc.com/ NY Prescription Saver Program; A new state wide discount drug program that does have some age and income restrictions.
http://discounts.aaa.com/ Members of AAA receive discounts on prescriptions - see their website for more information.
- Other things you can do to help improve the situation:
Write to your representatives, state insurance departments, and business organizations to encourage changes to our health care system.
I believe all of us are entitled to quality medical coverage at a reasonable price with some type of cap on rate increases so that we can budget our expenses accordingly.