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Health Insurance and Consulting

Health Insurance and Consulting

Health Insurance and Consulting

I have always wanted to go out on my own and try consulting. When I look at the cost of health insurance for my family, it makes me reconsider every time.

Is there an affordable way to get health insurance for an independent consultant.

Any insight from others on this forum is greatly appreciated.

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

Can't help. My insurance is reasonably inexpensive in current income, but that price required a multi-decade commitment to a company that provided retirement health benefits.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

Thanks to the magic of the "Affordable Health Care Act", health insurance is as equally unaffordable to those who who are employed as it is to those who are self-employed.

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

If you're a vet, you are covered. You'll still have to pay for the family, though.
Happy Fourth.

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

Why does insurance matter so much to you? You'll have to replace your income. I'm guessing replacing your salary is the biggest hurdle, and if you already have to do that and will do that, why is insurance stopping you? It's probably another 20% on top of your salary I would assume.

It's really a package deal. If you're confident you provide great service and can make money, then do it. Otherwise, it's a choice to remain a wage slave.

P.S. I'm a wage slave at the moment, but come from a family full of business owners.

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

Quote (gravityandinertia)

Why does insurance matter so much to you?
I'm scratching my head wondering why this is even a question...

Dan - Owner

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

Good point gravityandinertia. I never looked at it that way. I just wanted to see what others are doing to provide health insurance for their families. Thanks for the insight.

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting


"The why does insurance matter so much to you?" question wasn't meant as, "Do you really need health insurance?" It's more that to take the leap he has to replace his salary too, but never mentioned that as holding him back. If he currently makes $70,000 and thinks he can find the work to cover that, why does he think it's unlikely to find say $15,000 more (or whatever family insurance costs these days) to cover that as well. If I was in his position, I would be worried about it all in the form of making enough money to cover everything, not particularly insurance. You'll die without food and shelther and covering your basic necessities just as you may without insurance.

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

Another way to look at the question,
Where do you get health insurance as a one-man shop?

Do you buy it off the Affordable Healthcare Act website?
Do you find an insurance broker?
Do you contact local health insurance companies personally, looking for a private plan?

This ends up being a more important question, in my opinion, than at first glance. For example, if my one-man shop turns into a three-person shop, does my Obamacare policy cover my employees? If not, I have to start all over, and I don't want to waste more non-billable time researching yet another insurance plan. Planning for growth ahead of time would be a smarter choice.


RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

Beyond basic salary & healthcare don't forget all the other stuff that employers often contribute to, including but not limited to:

Life insurance
401k or other retirement contribution e.g. the matching 3% or similar.
Dental insurance
Vision insurance
Employer taxes on social security and maybe disability etc. (don't have my pay check in front of me)
Paid vacation
Paid holidays
Paid sick time

Then on top of that you need to be realistic about your workload and gaps in work etc. and the way you're taxed will be different too which will impact things.

So suddenly your required hourly rate can be a lot higher than your nominal hourly rate as an employee.

Like gravityandinertia says try to think of everything.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

"Thanks to the magic of the "Affordable Health Care Act", health insurance is as equally unaffordable to those who who are employed as it is to those who are self-employed."

Health insurance was ALWAYS expensive, which was why there were about 40 million uninsured prior to ACA.

I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

Quote ( )

Health insurance was ALWAYS expensive, which was why there were about 40 million uninsured prior to ACA

and now all those that bought ACA insurance coverage have expensive plans that don't cover anything and that no providers accept. And at the end of the last year there were still 33 million uninsured. So not only has the ACA not solved the problem of uninsured, it has also raised the costs across the board. double fail

Example one: one of the plans in our state is accepted by just one doctor in the area, nobody else will take it.

Example two: the plans have a $12,000 deductible (up to $14,000 out of pocket) and so they effectively provide only partial coverage until you meet the deductible.

Example three: Your doctor does accept the ACA insurance plan, however your local hospital does not. Therefore your doctor can not perform the surgery or deliver the baby. Find another doctor and hospital that can.

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

Prior to the ACA, I paid the equivalent of one car payment per month to insure my family with a $10K deductible. At least I could put cash in my HSA (tax-exempt Healthcare Savings Account).

Now I pay over 3.5x what I was paying, higher deductible, and no money left for HSA. It's like I'm buying cars for three other people and I'm stuck taking the bus.

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

My debate partner from high school is a self-employed business law attorney and single dad with one kid in college and two in high school. He told me recently that his health insurance costs have more than tripled in the last two or so years. Not to mention the frustration he had a couple months ago when his policy was cancelled "accidentally" (I don't know all the details, but it had to do with a renewal date screw up on the part of the insurer).

"Is it the only lesson of history that mankind is unteachable?"
--Winston S. Churchill

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

Other things (general business expenses) to consider in addition to what Kenat and Gravityandinertia said.

Software licenses
Professional licenses/Certificate(s) of Authorization
Professional Business Insurance
Business license (not CA) - What type of business, sole proprietor/LLC/Corp.
Attorney fees
Profit margin
Marketing expenses

Where are you going to work from?
Office Furniture
Stationary - paper, pens, pencils, staples, etc.
Office Space rental
Office Utilities (lights, water)

Back when I knew such things, my company would charge clients ~$100/hr for my time, meanwhile my salary amounted to ~$35/hr.

You have a lot to consider when going off on your own. I once asked a former coworker who did as you're thinking, he told me he went almost 6 months without a personal salary. How long can you go without a steady income while the business gets off the ground?

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

If you start shopping for insurance, be prepared for the endless robo calls. I would do it from a burner phone - seriously!

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

Call one of the insurance companies directly. I bought a pretty affordable short term plan with a $5000 deductible.

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

Marry someone with a family benefits plan.

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

I purchased Blue Cross Blue Shield through a broker 5 years ago. I'm a self-employed small consulting business owner. My premiums are high, my deductible is high. I like solo consulting and find it worth the hurdles.

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

I asked a union teacher to marry me. The guy who sat across from me for a year and change, family of 4, single income said there was no way it made sense. He pays the ACA penalty and keeps money in the bank. He says dr's discount for cash.

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

Only one poster mentioned business insurance. In my line of engineering (civil) professional liability insurance was more costly than health insurance.

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

It would seem economy insurance with high deductibles is now about $1000 per month, compared to about $300 per month four years ago. Unless you net less than $30k per year, in which case it will still be about $300 per month. One simply shops around for what is available in your State, and shop every year when it is time for renewal.

The way I made the split from employee to self employed, was to chart out and cover with designated savings, all our family expenses for one school year. We did not wish to relocate 4 kids during the school year. Plan B was to find employment elsewhere and relocate our family after the school year was up, if this did not work out. By the time we got to the end of the school year, I had earned and saved enough to cover the NEXT school year. Having the funds available without the worry of generating business was the only way to sleep at night.

That was many years ago, and now I have greater fear of growing complacent.

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting

There are a few organizations that promote good discounts on health insurance like ASCE and ACEC.

I'm not sure if the discounts for these are enough to overcome the membership cost, but they're worth looking into.

Southern Steel Engineers, www.southernsteelengineers.com

RE: Health Insurance and Consulting


If you are going to do it do it all the way. Marry someone rich and forgetting about consulting altogether.

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