It’s common knowledge that you can get health insurance by at least three major ways (1) your employer, (2) the individual market, and (3) Medicare/Medicaid. But what many don’t realize is that, if none of these is a good option, there is a fourth way: through an association.
Reduce Your Health Insurance Cost and Get Better Benefits
Association group plans, if available, can have many benefits; the big ones tend to feature lower premiums and better coverage, since the risk for the insurance company is spread out among many people. Also, there can be less bureaucracy to deal with, and a sense of “protection” because of strength in numbers (you don’t have to deal with the insurance company by yourself).
How to Get Health Insurance Through An Association
First, make a mental or written list of any associations you already belong to. For example, if you are a lawyer, you probably must belong to your state bar. You may also already belong to a union or trade group, or something else. Then, check with each association to see if they offer group health insurance to their members, and ask for quotes.
What if you are not a member of anything? Then, consider joining an association appropriate to you, if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. For example, the National Association for the Self-Employed currently costs $120 per year to join, and seems to offer health and dental insurance benefits (at an additional cost). The Alliance for Affordable Services and the Freelancers Union may also help you get good plans outside the individual market, at a reduced health insurance cost.
If you don’t get health insurance through your employer or a government program, and cannot find a satisfactory plan on the individual market, all is not lost. It may be a good idea to look up the organizations that you already belong to or may want to join, since they can offer good benefits.
As American Express used to say, “membership has its privileges”.
H/T: the balance