Can I get health insurance if I’m self-employed?

Certainly! Navigating health insurance options can be especially challenging for self-employed individuals, who don’t have access to employer-sponsored plans but still need comprehensive coverage. If you’re self-employed, you indeed can obtain health insurance through several avenues, ensuring you and possibly your dependents are covered. Here’s a detailed guide on how to navigate this process.

Understanding Your Options

When you’re self-employed, you’re essentially wearing two hats: that of an employer and an employee. This unique position affects your health insurance options, which include:

  1. Marketplace Insurance Plans: The most straightforward option for self-employed individuals is to purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These plans are available to anyone, regardless of pre-existing conditions, and offer a range of coverage from basic to comprehensive.
  2. Medicaid: If your income falls below a certain level, you may qualify for Medicaid, a state and federal program that provides health coverage to people with limited income. Eligibility varies by state, so it’s important to check your state’s requirements.
  3. Medicare: If you’re over 65 or have certain disabilities, you might qualify for Medicare, the federal health insurance program.
  4. National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE): NASE offers members resources and potential access to group insurance plans, which might provide a cost-effective way to secure health insurance.
  5. Health Sharing Plans: These are not insurance plans but rather cooperatives that pool members’ money to share healthcare costs. While often more affordable, they may have limitations on coverage and are not regulated like traditional insurance.
  6. Short-term Health Insurance: These plans can provide temporary coverage if you’re between other health insurance plans. However, they do not cover pre-existing conditions and offer limited benefits.

Evaluating What You Need

When selecting a health insurance plan, consider your health needs, budget, and whether you need to cover dependents. Key factors to evaluate include:

  • Premiums: The monthly cost you’ll pay for your insurance.
  • Deductibles: How much you’ll need to spend before your insurance starts to pay.
  • Out-of-pocket maximums: The maximum amount you’ll pay in a year for covered services.
  • Coverage benefits: Make sure the plan covers the services you need, from preventive care to specialist visits.
  • Network: Check if your preferred healthcare providers and hospitals are in the plan’s network.

Steps to Take

  1. Assess your needs: Before looking at plans, understand your healthcare needs and financial situation.
  2. Compare plans: Use the Health Insurance Marketplace at or state-specific sites to compare plans. Pay attention to the summary of benefits for each plan.
  3. Check for subsidies: You might qualify for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions based on your income.
  4. Apply: Once you’ve selected a plan, you can apply through the Marketplace. Keep an eye on open enrollment periods, although certain life events qualify you for a special enrollment period.
  5. Consider professional advice: A health insurance broker or agent can help you navigate options, often at no cost to you.

Tax Implications

As a self-employed individual, you can deduct 100% of your health insurance premiums from your taxable income, provided the insurance plan is in your name or your business’s name. This deduction can provide significant tax savings.


While the process may seem daunting at first, understanding your health insurance options as a self-employed individual is crucial for protecting your health and financial well-being. By carefully assessing your needs, comparing available plans, and taking advantage of any applicable subsidies or tax deductions, you can find a plan that suits your situation. Remember, investing in health insurance is not just a legal requirement; it’s a critical step in ensuring your peace of mind as a self-employed professional.

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