Back in November, we published this piece on international health insurance for online teachers. But what about those that plan to stay in the US? In most respects, health insurance is a whole different ballgame in states that it is abroad. Those of you teaching online and able to obtain employer-provided health insurance, that may be your best bet. Most of these options are built for self-employed online teachers and those running their own business, or otherwise unable to obtain health insurance through their place of work.
On that note, it’s important to do thorough research before signing up for a healthcare plan for online teachers. Let’s take a look at some of the top options available, their pros and cons, and how you can decide which route is best for you.
The open enrollment period for 2018 coverage ended December 15. We’ll post the dates for the next open enrollment period here as soon as they are available.
A note on special enrollment periods
If you’ve experienced a qualifying life event, you may be able to buy a health insurance plan during special enrollment periods. Both the Freelancers Union and general Affordable Care Act options have these special enrollment periods. This generally necessitates you to have had what is known as a ‘qualifying life event’ such as job loss, addition or removal of member(s), major error on the part of the government, change in citizenship status, relocation, loss of previous coverage for a different reason, or a few other select situations. The websites we link to here can provide more information as it relates to them and your situation specifically.
Additionally, those qualifying for Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Plans) can apply at any time at healthcare.gov.
Buy health insurance individually through healthcare.gov or your local healthcare market
The Affordable Care Act seeks to provide a somewhat streamlined, centralized process for buying a health insurance plan. Depending on where you live, this may be the most obvious and easy option for obtaining general health insurance. One of the best things about the ACA is that your prior medical history cannot disqualify you from buying new insurance, a huge load off the back for those with pre-existing conditions or an extensive history of treatments.
I’m not going to go into specifics on the ACA, but will list a few resources that are worth checking out.
- healthcare.gov is the main homepage for buying insurance through the ACA. Here you can find information based on your state and situation, and find the plan that best suits your needs.
- ehealthinsurance.com is an online health insurance site that has been around since long before the days of the ACA. Since the ACA came into effect, the site has incorporated the changes and remains a highly valuable resource for sourcing plans and information about your specific situation.
Buy health insurance through the Freelancers Union
The Freelancers Union offers annual health care open enrollment plans for self-employed workers and freelancers. It’s a great concept – but I’ve looked into plans for the past three years and each time have been immediately turned off by the price. Below is a screenshot of a quote I received this year (this is the MONTHLY premium):
Some with certain plans or situations may find it cheaper. This is particularly true if you plan to insure a family or live in a low-risk area. My quote is based on a single male, mid-thirties, residing in a Denver suburb. This does not include copays.
Compare this with the next option. The cost is literally cut in half, but is designed for those spending ample time abroad.
Add US/Canada Coverage To an International Health Plan
This may be the best way to go for those spending part of the year abroad and part in the US, especially know that, as of January 2019, the individual health mandate will no longer be in place with the implementation of the Republicans’ new tax plan.
See our international health insurance for online teachers article for the basics. The gist is that both Integra Global and Cigna Global allow upgrades to add coverage for care necessitated while in the United States onto their international health care plans.
Theoretically, this means that you can buy coverage based on where you plan to spend most of your time. Plus, you’ll have coverage for when you return home for the holidays, a wedding, or whatever else brings you back stateside. Here are quotes from both Cigna and Integra:
Health Insurance for Online Teachers: The Bottom Line
Those living in the United States are undoubtedly aware of how complex and complicated the health insurance system is. Buying individual or family health insurance can be overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that there are options. It just may take time and research to find the best path forward for you.
It’s important to be thorough in your search – don’t forget that many states have their own websites for state-wide health insurance markets (links can be found at healthcare.gov or by Googling “Affordable Care Act [your state]).