Look at the health care marketplace options
The federal health insurance marketplace offers options for self-employed workers or freelancers. If you make 400% or less Opens in new window of the federal poverty guidelines, you'll also qualify for a subsidy to minimize the cost.
The marketplace has an open enrollment period that starts Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 15 each year. This is when you can add a plan or change plans. It’s also the only time you can purchase from the marketplace, unless you have a special qualifying event Opens in new window like marriage, the birth of a child or moving to a new ZIP code. However, a few states have their own marketplaces, so if you live in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, you’ll apply through your state’s marketplace rather than the federal marketplace.
Join a group or union
If you're a member of an organization for freelancers or self-employed people, see if they offer a group self-employed health insurance plan. They may have lower rates than the health care marketplace, similar to how an employer offers lower group rates.
If you’re not part of a group for freelancers or self-employed people, an independent insurance agent may be able to help. Also ask other people in your line of work if they're part of such groups, and do your research. You may even find several groups that offer insurance plans, so compare options and see what makes sense. Be sure to weigh copayments, deductibles, and the size of the provider network available under each plan. You never know what you might find — and how much money you might save.
Use a spouse or domestic partner's coverage
If you're married or are in a domestic partnership, you may have access to health insurance through your spouse or partner. This depends on their employer's health insurance options, but it may be an option.
This health insurance may be expensive, but it may be less expensive than in the health care marketplace. If you want to join your spouse or partner's coverage, you may have to wait until open enrollment or until they have a qualifying event. They can talk to their HR representative and ask if there is any way to add you to their insurance plan.
Staying on COBRA
If you recently left a job, you may still be eligible for that employer's health insurance because of COBRA (continuation of health coverage) laws. Unfortunately, you'll have to pay for the entire cost of the plan, which may be much more expensive than you're used to.
Still, this also makes it easier to transition because you'll have access to the same doctors and providers. You can stay on COBRA for up to 18 months, which buys you time to figure out where to buy your next plan. This may be on the health care marketplace, through a self-employed group plan or through your partner's employer.