Teachers/freelances, what do you do for health insurance?

August 25, 2018, 3:07 PM · My husband and I are thinking about taking early retirement. I have a career in another field, as my kids have gotten older, I've been teaching and gigging more and more. I'm now having to turn down opportunities that I would love to say yes to. I'd like to leave my current career, but am stuck because I need the health insurance. Financially, if I could find a good insurance option, we would be fine. For the teachers and freelancers, do you have any suggestions? What do you do for health insurance?

We live in the US and I'm hesitant to get an ACA policy because, well, Trump...

Replies (10)

Edited: August 25, 2018, 3:12 PM · What kind of health insurance might be available to you through your retirement plan? My husband recently retired from his school district and we are all on the plan that the state of Texas provides to teacher retirees. The SA Symphony also has health insurance available but I opted out.

I think both the union (American Federation of Musicians) and the American String Teachers Association have group health insurance plans available--worth looking into,at any rate. Obviously those plans are for members of the organizations but it's easy to join either one (or both).

August 25, 2018, 3:18 PM · If people use the ACA, no one, not even Voledemort, will be able to get rid of it, because it will be working. Just a thought.
August 25, 2018, 3:34 PM · Aca is also kind of expensive for what you get.
August 25, 2018, 3:57 PM · ACA this, ACA that. It all depends on where you live. Nobody can predict this for you -- you have to investigate it for yourself, perhaps with the help of someone trained to do that. You should hire a licensed fee-only financial advisor because they can help you integrate the health-insurance piece with everything else -- life insurance, savings, investment, and the rest of your retirement plan. You wouldn't teach yourself to play the violin, would you?
August 26, 2018, 1:10 PM · ACA is not a policy you buy. It is a set of rules and regulations that all policies must follow. One of its provisions is that you cannot be denied for pre-existing conditions, or charged more for them, which prior to the ACA made getting an individual policy to bridge into Medicare impossible for many people.

The cost of a policy, whether pre- or post-ACA, depends on the kind of policy and the area you live in.

The bottom line is that you would be taking on the risk of losing everything if you retire and go without insurance.

Edited: August 26, 2018, 3:32 PM · I just pay out of pocket for Kaiser. I technically bought it through the California ACA "marketplace" but don't receive financial assistance on it, and I pay Kaiser directly. I nearly have the lowest cost plan, but it's still around 230/month for me.

I think the highest price would have been around 400/month for me, if I wanted fancy insurance.

What can I say? Being entirely self employed can be tough.

Also, +1 to what Tom Quinn said. ACA is a set of rules that pertains to all insurance here, not a type of healthcare plan. It is not something you can opt out of.

August 26, 2018, 3:48 PM · Julie,

How early is "early?" Medicare starts at 65.

Is there an option to reduce your hours in your "day job" and still keep medical insurance? Would your employer go along with that idea?

The ACA, while a political football, isn't dead (yet) and fewer and fewer Senators and Congressmen are willing to kill the plan because their voters don't want to be without insurance. People are discovering that the ACA isn't as bad as portrayed in the media.

Perhaps, (I don't know, but others on this list might) you can find an organization of freelancers that collectively negotiate rates for medical and other types of insurance. There might even be one for musicians - I don't know.

August 26, 2018, 3:56 PM · George, that would be the musicians’ union. American Federation of Musicians, which covers the US and Canada.
August 26, 2018, 4:19 PM · Locally at least, the AFM health and life insurance plans are only slightly worse than the plans from my employer. Worth looking at.
August 26, 2018, 9:22 PM · Currently I get my health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado which is the health exchange site for CO (Obamacare.) Previous to that being an option I went through a health insurance broker. The broker would call me when the policy was up for renewal and let me know if it was still priced competitively with similar policies or if I should switch companies to one that was more affordable.

I have an HSA policy (health savings account) and there are fewer HSA policies but I don't know why anyone would choose to have a high deductible plan that doesn't qualify for an HSA. I am 53. I am fortunate enough to be on no medications and have no health issues. I am on the least expensive HSA policy I can get which is through Kaiser. There are a couple that are slightly less expensive (under $10 a month less) that are not HSA policies. My policy is $539.40/month. My deductible is $6000. The good news is that they are set to have under 6% rate hikes this year.

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