Nowadays everywhere you go, there is a high possibility that you will meet someone who is self-employed or at least planning to start his/her own business. There are freelancers everywhere belonging to different fields such as photography, blogging, catering industry etc. There are both advantages and disadvantages attached to the term ‘Freelancer’. One of the key disadvantages is that you are not part of any big organization. You are on your own. You cannot rely on a company during health crisis. If you were part of a company, it would have been much easier for you to get an effective health insurance plan. The company will do the needful. But in your case, you have to find a proper health coverage yourself. It is overwhelming at the beginning, but with little bit of planning and research, finding the right health insurance plan will be convenient for you.
Certain Points to Remember Before Zeroing in on a Specific Plan :
It is always better to insure yourself when you are young. During early age, risks to health are quite low. The premiums will also be low. So you will have more options to choose from at an affordable rate. On the other hand, if you apply for a health insurance plan quite late in life, there is high chance that you will get across plans where insurance premiums are much higher. Keeping all these reasons in mind, it is always wise to start early.
Do Comparison Between Policies:
Initially when you start researching about different plans, you will come across lot of information which might make you feel lost or confused. In order to avoid that, it is important to make a comparison table between different policies and see for yourself which one is most suitable for you. All the information regarding eligibility criteria, policy terms, premium modes, benefits etc are easily available on insurance websites.
Look For Policies With a Stable Rate:
There are many policies where the rate of the premium keeps changing. This is quite risky for the individual as the premium rates might rise to an alarming level as well. So it is always safe to choose a policy that offers rate guarantee. Rate guarantee will make sure that the rate of the premium is fixed and it is decided at the inception of the policy. Once the policy starts, the rate cannot be altered.
Opt for Group Insurance Policy:
As a freelancer, you might not be eligible for most of the health insurance plans that we have around. In such cases, you also have the option of being part of a group or a partner and then apply for a group insurance policy. The premiums will also be much lower.
Consider Your Future Needs:
Do not ever rush into buying a health insurance plan. It is especially important for an individual who is self employed. Today, your business is doing well. It is making enough profits. But what about your future plans? What are your future business goals? Are they aligning with your financial planning? Before buying the plan, it is advised to keep in consideration the rate of your future professional growth. Based on that, you can decide on the premiums and policy terms. Personally also, if you are planning to get married or start a family in the future, it will lead to additional expenditures. Analyse all these points before deciding on the suitable health plan.
Look for Discounts:
As a freelancer, the flow of money is not always guaranteed. Today your work is flourishing and you are earning well. Tomorrow, due to many unavoidable reasons, your work might get hampered. It is always advised to look for ways that would help you save more money. There are some insurance policies which offer discounts on the premium for the succeeding year if no claim has been made in the current policy year. Look for such policies. It would help you to save some money.
Beware of Fraud Insurance Agents:
When you are a freelancer, you do not have a support system in the form of a reliable employer. You have to handle everything on your own. You have to do your own research before buying a health insurance plan. You might even approach an insurance agent or broker. There is nothing wrong in approaching them but do not let them take undue advantage of the fact that you are self-employed. They might see it as an opportunity to con you. Be always wary while approaching them.
So, even if you are a freelancer, do not panic. Devote enough time for planning, researching and comparing and you will be able to find the best suited health insurance plan for yourself.
GST rate of 18% applicable for all financial services effective July 1, 2017.
Disclaimer: Premiums may vary depending upon factors like age, location and prevailing taxes/GST.