Your first year as an entrepreneur can be overwhelming. You are going to spend a lot of time looking for new clients, optimizing your business model and building your brand. Unfortunately, some important elements may fall between the cracks, such as your personal healthcare.
You can’t afford to overlook healthcare needs when you are your own boss. Buying healthcare is particularly important if you fall into any of these categories:
- You are expecting a child in the near future. The average cost of a preganancy is over $30,000 for a normal delivery and $50,000 if a C-section is required.
- You are over the age of 40. You will face more health problems as you get older.
- You have a chronic, expensive health problem, such as diabetes.
It is important that you understand your healthcare needs and plan appropriately. Here are some tips to consider.
Look at the ACA Exchange
If you make under 400% of the federal poverty line (but more than 100 or 133%, depending on your state), you can qualify for subsidies to purchase insurance on the health exchange. Many states setup their own exchanges, while others use the federal exchange instead. You will need to find the appropriate exchange and see if you qualify.
It is common for owners of new businesses to buy on the health exchange, since they won’t get coverage from their boss (unless they have a spouse with a family plan). Just make sure that you choose the right plan. A silver plan is a good idea if you are in relatively good health, but a gold plan is better if you need more regular coverage. A gold plan has higher premiums, but lower out-of-pocket costs.
You won’t need to provide proof of income while buying health insurance through your state or the federal exchange, because it will be reconciled the following April when you file your taxes. You should simply forecast your expected earnings, so you can get the right amount of premiums. Try not to be too conservative with your estimates. If you generate more money from your business than you expect, then you will have to pay back some of your premiums.
If you expect to make under 133% of the poverty level, you may qualify for Medicaid. That depends on whether your state expanded Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Don’t Neglect Dental Care Needs
Dental insurance is an overlooked part of healthcare. Many patients opt not to purchase it, especially since it is not subsidized under the ACA. However, overlooking the importance of dental coverage can be a huge mistake. Dental costs can arise when you least expect them. If you visit your dentist and discover that you have three cavities, your $140 checkup can suddenly turn into an $800 or more nightmare!
In addition to preparing by purchasing dental insurance, you need to take good care of your teeth. Finding the right mouthwash can make a huge difference with keeping cavities at bay, potentially making your first year in business much cheaper.
Find Low Cost Healthcare Providers
You probably won’t be able to afford your gold-plated healthcare when you leave your job to be your own boss. It is important to find low-cost healthcare providers. You also need to make sure your doctor will be in your network.
Delay Non-Urgent Treatments
Not every treatment needs to be taken care of this year. For example, if you are an 18-year old entrepreneur, you can probably wait another year or so to have your wisdom teeth extracted. You might as well delay it until it is a priority. You should also postpone cosmetic procedures until you have the money for them.