September 17th, 2010
A recent news item from the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner made my week. According to the OIC, come October 1, freelancers, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and other self-employed folks will have an easier time finding and qualifying for affordable health insurance.
Thanks to Senate Bill 6538, rather than being forced to buy health insurance on the individual market — if they can even qualify for it, let alone afford it — one-person businesses will be able to qualify for group health insurance coverage, with no health screening required. Until now, only small businesses of two to 50 employees could qualify for such group plans in Washington state.
In case you’re new to the self-insurance game, allow me explain why this has the potential to rock a lot of freelance worlds: Group plans tend to offer more bang for your insurance buck; coverage tends to be far more comprehensive than the high-deductible, catastrophic plans those of us in the individual insurance market often get stuck with.
Perhaps even more significant, there are no 250-item health questionnaires to fill out and no infinite bans on pre-existing conditions, which is of course great news for self-employed people with chronic conditions or a less-than-perfect medical history.
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