The life of a freelancer comes with lots of perks — but health insurance usually isn’t one of them. While finding proper health coverage as a freelancer or someone who is self-employed can be difficult — don’t give up hope! There are lots of ways to find proper health benefits at a manageable cost. Here are four great options to help you find affordable health insurance:

Join a group or union

There are lots of groups or unions that offer health coverage as a benefit of joining. Groups can be specialized and related to your specific career path – like the Bar Association or the National Writers Union – or they can be more generalized unions – like the Freelancer’s Union based in New York, which offers a group health rate for anyone who works freelance. Groups offer a wide variety of health plans at a wide variety of prices, so do research as to what plan and coverage makes the most sense for you.


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Join your partner or spouse’s plan

If your partner has health coverage at his or her job, a great option for freelancers is to be added to their plan as a dependent. This will only slightly increase his or her insurance cost and, in turn, save you heaps of money. Also, if you are under 26, you can legally be covered by your parents’ insurance as a dependent; this is also a great cost-effective way to receive healthcare benefits at the fraction of the cost of an independent plan.

Purchase your own insurance plan

Nowadays, you don’t need to work at a big company to get health insurance. Lots of big insurance companies are offering a wide variety of plans for individuals to purchase on their own. Individual plans tend to be a great choice for healthy freelancers without pre-existing health conditions; they become more expensive if you have previous diagnoses or a complicated medical history. If you need help searching, sites like HealthCompare.com or eHealthInsurance.com let you plug in information about your health needs and compare different health insurance plans. If you are looking for a dental plan, DentalPlans.com has a wide range of dental insurance plans to choose from, so you don’t have to do the research yourself.

Take advantage of former employer’s benefits

If you have recently left a larger company to freelance, try to take advantage of your COBRA benefits. Under COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), you are eligible to be covered under the same plan that you were at your previous job for 18 months after you leave the company. While this is not a long term solution (and can be an expensive one – you’ll pay 100% of the insurance premiums), it is a great way to receive health benefits while you drive up your income and get in a solid financial place to comfortably purchase your own plan.