It seems like we are saturated with negative stories about health insurance - stories about rising premiums, the denial of claims and preexisting conditions, the dwindling dollar-value of employer contributions, and the difficulty and irritation involved with shopping for plans. Well, we have good news. This is not that kind of story. Instead, we are celebrating the innovative and positive things that are happening in the wonderful world of health insurance, specifically with regard to the fastest-growing segment of the American workforce: freelancers. After you read about the changes that are afoot, we hope you’ll agree with us that buying health insurance is an act that can bring you peace of mind instead of nightmare fuel.
- Healthcare Plans Have Changed for The Better.
As we have discussed previously, there’s a new healthcare axiom in town: one size does NOT fit all. Gone are the days of having to manually research and choose between a couple, pricey major medical carriers. Today, you can shop for one of the inexpensive new health plans that were designed to provide you with the coverage you need, when you need it. Or you can quickly compare hundreds of major medical plans online to find the exact fit for you and your family (while taking advantage of the premium tax credit or tax deductions in the process). There are even some cool new insurance companies on the scene like Austin, Texas-based Decent. Decent has built a major medical health plan specifically for Texas freelancers that prides itself on keeping its premiums low - and its net-promoter score high. Insurance used to be an either-or purchasing scenario where neither option was great, but today, there is a menu of choices to suit your budget and lifestyle.
- Healthcare Technology Makes Life Easier.
The freelancing lifestyle is by definition flexible and free from being tethered to an employer’s physical location. Freelancers will therefore benefit from those technology advances that meet healthcare consumers where they are today versus where they were when they purchased a plan. For example, the rapid increase in telehealth provides you with access to care no matter where you are currently located - a rural farm, a big city, or even a beach in Costa Rica. And telehealth is inherently flexible. If you prefer to work until 6:00 a.m. and sleep until 4:00 p.m., it isn’t a problem - you can still “see” a professional for medical assistance at 8:00 p.m. Additionally, a number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and technology can help you remotely monitor your health in many ways, including tracking things like heart rate, glucose levels, exercise efforts, and even mood and depression. These innovations give you greater autonomy and freedom in controlling your healthcare delivery, and we think that is something worth celebrating.
- Pricing Transparency Will Help You Save.
A long-time problem with healthcare in the U.S. is that prices for services and care are intentionally kept hidden from you to serve the financial interests of insurance carriers, providers, and other medical entities. This causes consumer frustration, and it often leads to the unnecessary overpayment for services. Just last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Department of Labor issued a groundbreaking final rule on price transparency. The rule gives all individuals access to real-time price information, so you can make an informed decision and calculate the costs of services before you receive treatment. Also, you can see the negotiated rate between your health plan and a provider. While an on-demand online shopping tool is currently in the works and won’t be available to the public for another couple years, we believe that pricing transparency is an innovation that will improve healthcare satisfaction while helping freelancers save money.
In conclusion, health insurance doesn’t need to be frustrating or intimidating. There are many options available to you, and there are some great changes happening in the marketplace. Contact us at SoleVenture if you have questions about health insurance or if you need help on your freelancing journey.