Group Health Insurance for a Writer
“To sum it up…”
- Writers can get group health insurance through several membership organizations.
- Group insurance plans for writers are sometimes limited by state or region.
- Writers can use the Healthcare Insurance Marketplace if they qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
- Insurance premiums paid by self-employed writers can be tax-deductible.
Freelance writers have similar options for health insurance as other self-employed people. They can also join writers associations, which offer some group health insurance policies.
Before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), writer organizations provided members with many different types of group health insurance plans. These plans were often fragmented, available only in a few states or regions.
Writers organizations and other freelance or self-employed membership organizations offer some choices for writers who want group health insurance. Most plans are available only to dues-paying members, but membership in one of the groups is free. Writers can compare premiums, insurance plans, and options that are available to freelancers and self-employed individuals.
Groups of freelance writers can benefit from group insurance plans just as some employers offer group insurance to their employees. Depending upon the type of health insurance plan writers select and their income, they may be eligible for tax credits or deductions.
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National Writers Union
Any writer who earns money from writing, whether they are a journalist, book author, blogger, or content writer, can join the National Writers Union. The NWU has offered group health plans for writers for many years.
The Union currently offers options for members to join group plans and receive quotes for Marketplace health insurance through Working America Health Care.
If you have lost health insurance in the last 60 days and are a writer, you can be eligible to apply for new health insurance special enrollment period. You must be an NWU member. Dues start at $12.50 a month (for those who earn under $5,000 a year writing) and increase based on your annual earnings as a writer.
Editorial Freelancers Association
Part or full-time writers may apply to join the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA). The EFA provides some benefits to members, including health care plans. A third-party administers EFA’s discount health care plan for members, and they also offer information and links to sign up for insurance using the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Dues for the EFA are $145 for one year, with a one-time $35 processing fee.
National Association for the Self-Employed
Writers, along with other self-employed business people, can join the 50,000 member National Association for the Self-Employed.
Optional benefits for members include a variety of healthcare insurance choices, from supplemental insurance to group health insurance and life, dental and disability.
NASE members can get a quote through the organization’s partnership with group health insurance providers. Other benefits include physician, dental and hospital discount cards. NASE offers memberships for veterans, students, and businesses ranging from $25 to $145 a year.
National Writers Association
Although the organization’s name is similar to the National Writers Union, the National Writers Association is not a union and has membership groups primarily in the western United States. Group medical insurance is available to members who live in Colorado. Members in other states can be eligible for dental, vision, and chiropractic services.
Writers Guild of America (East and West)
If you are fortunate enough to be a professional writer in the film and television industry on the east or west coast, you can qualify to join the Writers Guild (WGA). The WGA provides a pension plan and group health insurance in cooperation with the Producers Guild.
The WGA Industry health fund offers medical, hospitalization, dental, vision, and wellness benefits to members. Members must complete a significant number of units of work in film, radio or television and the initiation fee is $2,500.
The Freelancers Union’s own subsidiary insurance agency provides group health insurance for its members in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
The organization contracts with other healthcare insurance organizations to provide access to group health insurance for members in other states. There is no cost to join the Freelancer’s Union.
The Freelancers Union also offers dental, vision, life, and disability insurance, along with many other types of practical support for freelancers.
Healthcare.gov and the Health Insurance Marketplace
Open enrollment periods for health insurance through healthcare.gov usually begin in November of each year and end in January of the following year. You can enroll at other times of the year during special enrollment periods if you undergo a qualifying event.
Your situation can be considered individually if you have complex enrollment issues. If you qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, you can enroll at any time.
Life changes that can qualify you for a special enrollment period include
- Losing insurance at work
- Losing COBRA insurance coverage
- Losing eligibility for Medicaid or Medicare
- Losing coverage for a family member
- Changes in household size (including having a baby, adoptions, or placing a child in foster care)
- Moving to a new zip code
- Death in the family
How to Get Health Insurance as a Self-employed Writer
Being self-employed as a writer can bring challenges in finding group health insurance that meets your needs. Insurance premiums are tax-deductible and can reduce the amount of taxes you need to pay, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
Some writers organizations offer policies or access to group insurance quotes for members. Comparing insurance policies and coverage will take time, but good policies for writers can be located.
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