A decade ago, freelancing might not have been considered as a feasible career prospect. But in 2019, it is not only feasible but also productive. A lot of industries have been digitized and this helps people to step away from the traditional office culture and embrace a flexible way of earning their livelihood.
By opting for freelancing, you can choose projects that you are passionate about. Compared to a regular 9 to 5 job, freelancing offers a better work-life balance. However, it comes with its share of challenges – no job security in the long-run, absence of provident fund, and lack of employer-offered health insurance. This article is about the third challenge and how to overcome it.
Missing out on employer-offered health insurance is a major disadvantage for freelancers. However, all is not lost. You can easily compensate for it by buying a suitable health insurance plan for yourself. Read ahead to know more about purchasing the right health insurance plan for freelancers.
Health policy is offered by an insurer to the insured person in exchange of insurance premium. This policy is kind of contract where the insurance company provides financial assistance to the insured person in case of specified medical issues. The contract is governed by pre-decided terms and conditions.
The sooner you opt for health insurance, the better it is for you. Health insurance premium for a person in early thirties will most likely be less than the premium for a person in late forties. Insurance companies consider the age and current health condition of a person as big factors while determining the premium. Generally, as younger people are healthier as compared to elders, the premium charged for them is less than what is charged for elders.
Health Insurance & Freelancers:
Different kinds of health insurance plans are available in the Indian insurance market. Note that these plans are available offline as well as online.
- Health insurance plan for an individual adult
- Health insurance plan for the entire family
- Health insurance against a specific or a list of diseases (Critical Illness)
- Health insurance against major accidents
- Health insurance offered by the employer to employees
Out of the different plans mentioned above, freelancers usually do not get to avail the benefits of the employer-offered plan. This is because group health insurance plans offered by employers are usually restricted to full-time employees. Freelancers are not eligible. This is a major drawback as these plans are often offered free of cost to the employees.
Most of the employer-offered policies extend the cover to the employee’s immediate family as well. Thus, as a freelancer, you might miss this free insurance cover. As a result, you will have to search for a suitable health insurance plan.
The Best Health Insurance for Freelancers:
Every individual is different. As a result, everyone’s health quotient is at a different level. Thus, a policy that is suitable for one individual might not be ideal for another individual. Whether you are a freelancer or not, there cannot be one ideal plan that meets everyone’s requirements.
As a freelancer, you are without the employer-offered coverage. You as well as your family is exposed to financial risks associated with health hazards (assuming they do not have individual health plans). In such a scenario, you have to understand your own health requirements as far as the insurance cover is concerned. For example, you can look at your job profile to decide the variety of plans you need. If you are a freelance travel photographer, the chances of suffering from an accident are more as compared to a freelance graphic designer profile (desk job).
Health Insurance Portfolio:
Ideally, one should have multiple health plans that meet different requirements. This where the need for a portfolio comes in. However, one needs to be analytical while picking the right policies. For example, if you have a family history of an illness, it is wise to buy a Critical Illness policy that covers that illness. This should be in addition to your individual health plan.
A Family Floater policy can also be considered if other members in your family are without an active health insurance cover. Similarly, dedicated policies such as a Maternity Cover or Senior Citizen Insurance can also be looked at for all-round coverage.
Revisit, Review & Renew:
Revisit your health insurance plans annually. You might want to strengthen your cover based on your health situation at the time of policy renewal, which is also a good time to review your insurance company as well. You can search for new insurers if they are offering a better policy without compensating on the coverage.
Online Health Insurance:
Digital-first insurers have changed the functioning of the health insurance industry. Traditional insurers have also realized the potential of going digital and are offering health plans online. There is no excessive form-filling and document-submitting for availing a policy. You can purchase a suitable health insurance plan easily from the comfort of your home from your smartphone, laptop, desktop, tablet, etc.
Online health insurance has made it easy for people to understand health insurance plans and compare them. Information is readily available on insurer’s websites and aggregator websites. Spending a few minutes on such websites can help you find the right kind of health insurance policy.
You negate the influence of agents and other such third parties when you buy health insurance online. You can pick a cover that is suitable for your health needs. If you feel that you need some explanation about a clause or need to understand the cover in detail, you can always get in touch with the insurance provider. This can be done via a chatbot on the insurance company’s website, by calling their support team or sending an email to them.
Do not purchase a health insurance plan if you have any doubts. Clear all doubts and then purchase the plan. Check the terms and conditions before purchasing, and inspect the policy document after making the payment to check if the details are mentioned correctly. This is important because claim settlement will be done based on your policy document.
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