How to Organize Your Health Insurance if You Are a Freelancer

Are you considering ditching your nine-to-five traditional job and going into business as a freelancer? Perhaps you’re already self-employed and struggling with purchasing health insurance coverage. After all, choosing the right insurance provider and the right policy is tough.

In fact, the stress of purchasing a health insurance cover is enough to make freelancers consider going back to conventional employment where the employer has an insurance plan. Before you let health insurance anxieties alter your freelancing career, here are six critical tips for organizing health insurance as a freelancer.

Health insurance and freelancing is an exciting proposition. The benefits definitely outweigh the stress of the initial purchasing decision.

Consult the Experts

Get in touch with an insurance agent who has had experience providing health plans for freelancers. Note that not every agent out there can deal with intricacies around health insurance plans for on-demand workers, digital nomads, remote workers, and self-employed individuals.

At the same time, take time to educate yourself by reading online resources like the HealthMarkets medicare and insurance articles. This way, you’ll save yourself plenty of headaches.

(source: https://www.healthmarkets.com/resources/medicare/what-is-medicare-part-c/.)

Health Insurance Cost for Freelancers

Unfortunately, there is no single number to the rate health insurance will cost – everyone’s rate will vary. Before you start worrying, the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that the average American paid $106 per month after subsidies. Plus, there are also other ways of finding affordable health insurance.

Income is Variable

As a freelancer, paychecks are not the same each month, which makes it difficult for freelancers to budget for health insurance premiums. Your best option is to find a plan with low monthly premiums and low deductibles.

Don’t be afraid of shopping around and asking for advice from fellow freelancers within your network. In fact, you can even combine two insurance products to ensure that you get adequate coverage.

How to Get Health Insurance as a Freelancer

If you were recently employed and enjoyed health insurance coverage, you should speak to your previous insurer without getting grandfathered into your old policy. Fortunately, most health insurance plans on the market have an option to convert your group plan into an individual plan after leaving a job. If you are planning to leave your job, make sure you check whether you qualify for a special enrollment period.

Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare), health insurance is available via the healthcare Marketplace for individuals or small businesses. While most freelancers don’t fall into the small business category, it’d help to check out the requirements now in case your business grows.

Another good option to consider is your spouse’s health insurance, and it can save you money. You might not be legally married, but you qualify as a domestic partner sharing the same home. The only thing is that you should not be married to anyone else.

If your freelancing profession has associations, you should be in a position to get group insurance thanks to memberships. Group insurance allows individuals to get together as self-employed worker groups that receive the same kind of group insurance you’d get through an employer.

Check Payout Caps When Shopping for Insurance Coverage

It’s easy to get excited when you find affordable premiums and deductibles in a health insurance cover, only to find out later that payouts are capped at low amounts. You need health insurance that will cover major healthcare expenses and basic doctor visits. Just because you can afford the monthly premiums doesn’t mean your coverage will adequately cover you when diagnosed with serious health conditions.

Are There Short-Term Health Insurance Plans for Freelancers?

Unfortunately, short-term health insurance plans don’t offer you the benefit of options available under ACA plans. However, a short-term plan might be a temporary solution if you missed the open enrollment period and don’t want to pay medical costs until you are ACA covered. Doing this might attract an ACA minimum coverage penalty if you don’t carry coverage for at least 9 months in a year.

Conclusion

Purchasing health insurance is usually a stressful part of being a freelancer. While the freedom of managing your own hours is exhilarating, this freedom does come with its own challenges. Pay attention to the tips above and you’ll feel much more comfortable while purchasing health insurance as a freelancer.

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Guiding Your Teen Through Depression

It is a known fact that depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in our nation. Men and women of all ages experience the pervasive sadness, exhaustion, pain, anxiety, sleeplessness or extreme sleepiness, dragging them down and making it extremely difficult to function in daily life. For those suffering in this way, the main treatment is therapy and anti-depressants. Some people are afraid to take anti-depressants because they think that they are “happy pills”. The reality is that when we are terribly stressed for a long period of time, the neurotransmitters in our brain become unbalanced, making us feel even more depressed. Anti-depressants balance the neurotransmitters in our brain, helping us function and do the hard work needed in therapy. People usually respond to these two forms of treatment.

Many times, depression is overlooked in teenagers. Because teenage depression looks different from adult depression, parents sometimes don’t recognize the symptoms. While adults are in touch with their emotional pain, depressed teenagers usually start out complaining about physical aches and pains. Although stomach problems, headaches and just a general ill feelings may plague them, a doctor will not be able to find a diagnosis. Adults feel pervasive sadness when they are depressed, while teenagers usually become increasingly more irritable. Parents should be aware of their teen’s descent into intense irritability.

Because there is an increased sensitivity to criticism, your teen may start avoiding activities where they fear failure. While your teenager once may have delighted in trying out for sports, the school musical or go on dates, if he is depressed, he will begin to avoid anything resembling taking a risk in order to avoid rejection. Parents who nag their teen to achieve only serve to worsen their teen’s depression.  On the other hand, they might engage in high-risk behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, skipping school and unsafe sex. Teenagers may change their group of friends, associating with the wrong crowd and stop talking to their old friends. They may completely withdraw from real life activities and focus their attention on the online world. This can be dangerous as he may create an online persona, engage in online chats or play role-playing games, all to escape the realities of his life.  Some signs and symptoms of teenage depression are:

  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Poor school performance
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Tearfulness or frequent crying
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Hopelessness
  • Difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation

Because suicide in teenagers is at all an all-time high, it is crucial to keep an eye on your child and do everything possible to help him in his depression. Some suicide warning signs to watch for are:

  • Engaging in reckless behavior or having a lot of accidents resulting in injury
  • Seeking out weapons, pills or other ways to kill themselves
  • Speaking positively about death or romanticizing dying
  • Writing stories or poems about death, dying or suicide
  • Talking or joking about committing suicide
  • Saying things like, “I’d be better off dead”, “there’s no way out”, “I wish I could just disappear forever”
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Saying good-bye to friends and family as if it is the last time

It is extremely important for depressed teenagers receive prompt, professional treatment. If your teenager refuses treatment, it is wise for family members to seek professional advice.

In therapy, teens can understand why they are depressed and how to cope with the stressful situations in their lives. Individual, group, or family counseling may be helpful.

There are many groups for depressed teenagers. Teen Tribe is a mental support group for teenagers. The Teen Depression Toolbox helps educate depressed teenagers about what they are going through. Music For the Soul uses the power of songs and videos to bring emotional healing.

Parents need to know how to communicate with a teenager who is depressed.

Trust Your Gut

If you think that your teenager may be depressed but he claims that there is nothing wrong, you need to trust your instincts. Consider turning to a favorite teacher or school counselor if your teen won’t talk to you. Do not ignore signs of depression, no matter how vague they may seem.

Listen, Do Not Lecture

The best thing is to let your teen know that you are there for them, totally and unconditionally. Once your teenager begins to talk, resist the urge to pass judgement or to criticize. The important thing is for your teenager to feel safe with you.

Acknowledge Their Feelings

Do not make light of your teen’s feelings, even if they make no sense to you. Don’t try to talk them out of their depression. Simply acknowledging the pain and sadness they are experiencing will go far in making them feel understood and supported.

Gently Persevere

If your teen shuts you out at first, don’t give up. He may have a hard time expressing what he’s feeling. Be respectful of your teen’s comfort level while still letting them know of your concern and willingness to listen.

With the proper understanding, unconditional love and resources available to help depressed teenagers, your teen will come out of the darkness he is in. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Image: Pixabay

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Aunt Peg’s Scotcharoo Bars – The Ultimate Treat

Scotcharoo Bars are crunchy and sweet and chocolatey, perfect for dessert or afternoon snacks. Or sneaking out of the pan when your aunt is looking the other way. I spent my childhood summers traveling with my family from Los Angeles to Minnesota. Both my parents are from Minnesota and most of the aunts, uncles, cousins, and […]

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7 Great Theme Ideas for Your Child’s Summer Birthday Party

Birthday parties are extremely exciting for children, and parents can make them even more exciting by having a theme associated with the birthday party. During the summer months, you have a lot of options for theme parties because of the nicer weather and ability to be outside. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do inside parties too. Having a theme for a party not only makes it easier for you to decorate your home for the event, but it also allows you to have a theme for food, treats, games, and giveaways too. If your child is having a birthday this summer, here are seven great theme ideas for their summer birthday party

Carnival

Carnival themes are fun because it allows you to have plenty of games and activities on hand to keep all the kiddos entertained. For instance, you can set up a ring toss, a picture booth, a bean bag game, and more. If you’d like, you can also hire a magician, clown, or petting zoo to come to the party too. You can even look on Amazon for carnival games and be amazed by the possibilities that show up. Plus, there are plenty of carnival party accessories too, so you can have tablecloths, plates, and decorations that all match and set the tone for a fun day at the carnival.

Beach

If you have a pool, having a beach-themed party is a great idea for kids. Most of them love to swim, and you don’t have to pay money for any additional entertainment as the pool will suffice. If you don’t have a pool, you can still do a beach themed party by either having everyone at a local pool or by setting up a bunch of water-related games at your house instead, such as a water slide, water gun fight, sprinkler, and more. This beach themed party is especially important when the weather is hot and kids want to run around yet cool off at the same time.

Movies

A movie-themed party is another great option that allows you to easily keep the kids entertained, and you can take this in two ways. First, you can have a movie award themed party where everyone arrives in nice clothes and your home is adorned with a red carpet and picture backdrops. The other option is to have everyone over and just have a movie marathon with their favorites. Renting a big screen allows you to have this party outside if you’d like, but if the weather isn’t cooperating, you can do this inside too. Just be sure to have plenty of movie snacks on hand, such as candy, pop, and popcorn. You can even make it classier by having a popcorn bar filled with different toppings or different types of popcorn, such as caramel or even white cheddar popcorn for the adults.

Superhero

If your child has a favorite superhero (or ten) then why not have a superhero party? Children can come dressed up as their favorite superhero, and you can have your home or party location decorated with superhero decorations. Find superhero games to play, or even consider putting superhero movies on a loop to provide additional entertainment.

Princess

Most little kids would enjoy a princess themed birthday party. Be sure to ask your guests to dress up as their favorite prince or princess, and then make the party a little more elegant (while still keeping in mind they’re children). For instance, serving finger foods and providing “nice” dinnerware will make the event seem classier and made just for a princess.

Camping

Having a camping party is another great theme, especially for kids who are a bit older. If you want to make it a truly fun experience, you can set up tents in your yard and allow the kids to sleep outside. The night of the party, be sure to fully commit to a bonfire, and serve hot dogs and s’mores as the main two food groups to keep everyone full and happy.

Sports

No matter the sport, you can easily turn it into a themed party, or you can just stick with “sports” in general to give yourself more entertainment options. If you’re picking one sport, such as baseball, you can go about it a few different ways. First, you can have your child’s party at a baseball field and allow the kids to play while you serve hot dogs, pretzels, and ice cream. You can also take your child and a group of friends to a baseball game. If you’re opting for sports in general, then be sure to have plenty of sports-related games on hand to keep everyone entertained.

Summer gives you more flexibility when it comes to planning your child’s party, and these seven themes will give your child a party they’re excited about.

Images: Pixabay

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Let Summer Sizzle – While You Keep Your Cool

What’s your best bet for delicious, easy, and keep-your-cool dinner prep this month? I’ve got a magic bullet to solve your dinnertime dilemmas. Do you end up eating take-out too often? Is grocery shopping an endless chore that leaves you buying and SPENDING more you need? Do you forget to thaw that thing you NEEDED for dinner? Do […]

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Home Cooked Meals & How to Make Them Easily

Home cooked meals can be some of our favorites, but they can also be a lot of work. How can you make it easier to cook at home? I think it’s pretty common knowledge among us parents that feeding our families home cooked meals is better for kids nutritionally and developmentally as well as easier on the budget […]

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Get Dinner Prepped AND Whistle While You Work

There’s one sure thing you can count on every day: your people will want dinner. And while it may seem like a chore, there are ways to get dinner prepped AND enjoy the process. Check out these tips for easier dinnertime prep. What’s for dinner? I’m hungry. When are we eating? No doubt you’ve heard […]

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