Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ObamaCare, self-employed Americans have new options for health insurance that were not previously available. Insurance market reforms such as not denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition, premiums that may not vary based on health status, and offering essential health benefits will allow self-employed Americans to access more complete health coverage than ever before.

If you are self-employed, health insurance is often a major concern. Under the new health insurance law, premium tax credits may be available for self-employed individuals or for businesses to reduce the cost of health insurance.

Applying for Health Insurance as a Self Employed Individual

According to the Healthcare.gov Self-Employed site, a person is considered self-employed if they run an income generating business. They are not an employer if they have no employees, even if they themselves are paid from business funds. Even hiring independent contractors to do some work does not make them an employer. These individuals would instead be considered self-employed.

If you are self-employed,  to find the health insurance that is right for you, go to your state individual or family health exchange. The federal State Information site will have information on where to go to find a quote for insurance in your state.

Choosing health insurance through the marketplace will allow you to compare different plans side-by-side, find out what tax credits you will qualify for, and see what your out-of-pocket costs will be before you decide to enroll. If you want to get estimates of these numbers before you fill out the actual application, you can take advantage of the Kaiser Family Foundation health insurance cost and savings calculator. Keep in mind that this calculator only provides an estimate of costs and savings in the insurance marketplace, and that only a full application can tell you what your actual options are.

As a self-employed person, it may be harder to estimate your income than it would be if you received a regular salary. However, it is important to estimate as best you can. If you end up making less than your estimate, you may qualify for additional tax credits and receive a refund at the end of the year. If you end up making more, you may end up having to pay back some of the tax support you received on your insurance premiums through the year.

When you apply for insurance through the exchange, you will also be considered for eligibility in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). Depending on your income, the best and most affordable health care for you and your family may come through those programs.

Being self-employed can be challenging, but it’s good to know health insurance options have increased and you have more opportunity than ever to make the best choices for you and your business. Knowing all of your options and choosing your health insurance plan carefully will lay a solid foundation for a happy, healthy future.