Whether you’ve been freelancing your whole career or are new to the gig economy, maintaining affordable, quality health insurance is probably never far from your mind.
Getting and keeping health insurance is easier for those who are part of an employer group. As an employee, your company usually pays for a portion of your premium, which gets automatically deducted from your paycheck. But when you’re an independent contractor or freelancer, you must purchase your plan and make all the monthly premium payments yourself and on time.
And to make things harder, this past year has been a challenging business climate for so many. If you’re a freelancer who’s experienced a downturn in your income due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you may be finding it more difficult to afford health insurance.
But now there’s some good news: The American Rescue Plan (ARP) is expanding access to affordable coverage and allowing higher tax credits for those paying for their own health insurance, including for higher-income individuals and families. The goal is to offer more individual market coverage options so that no one will have to pay more than 8.5% of their income toward health insurance.
The tax credits will vary depending on your income and where you live. For example, an individual with income of $35,000 per year in New York City was previously eligible for a tax credit of $359 per month ($4,308 per year) but will now be eligible for $478 per month ($5,736 per year).
The ARP is also providing COBRA relief in the form of 100% premium subsidies for eligible employees who have been terminated or furloughed.
To learn more about the ARP and how it may help you, visit EmblemHealth’s new frequently asked ARP questions page.
Also, you may be eligible for the EmblemHealth Essential Plan. This is a $0 plan for individuals with an income between $17,609-$25,520. See your Essential plan options on the Freelancers Union website.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, health insurance marketplaces are open through 2021, meaning all individuals can sign up for coverage at any time. To find a plan, visit Freelancers Union's National Benefits Platform.