This month, Freelance Austin was fortunate to have Stacey Aikman, Marketing Director from Vista 360 Health, impart her helpful knowledge about a topic most of us would prefer to avoid: healthcare.


Healthcare for freelancers recap

What’s changing in healthcare for 2018?

  • Shorter Enrollment Period (Previously 3 months, this year there was just 45 days.)
  • Open enrollment is November 1 through December 15
  • Find health plans through or ACA exchange qualified network
    • ACA qualified networks are health plans that meet minimal requirements so you don’t get a tax penalty
  • It might be harder to login to the website on Sundays, so try weekdays if possible.

Where to look

    • If you qualify for subsidies then is probably your best bet
  • Vista 360Health or Oscar may provide better, even more economic plans if you don’t qualify for subsidies
    • These companies offer qualified healthcare plans which won’t result in a tax penalty
    • These plans will not be available on
  • Kind Health
    • Provides info for both exchange and off-exchange health plans
    • It’ll even help determine if you qualify subsidies through ACA plans

What happens if you miss open enrollment

  • You may qualify for a special enrollment period if you: 
    • You got married
    • You moved
    • You got a new job or lost a job (you usually have 60 days to enroll in a new plan, normally on the first of the next month)
  • If you miss open enrollment, you can still get a healthcare plan, but: 
    • They may not be ACA Compliant, resulting in tax penalties
    • You may need to answer personal healthcare questions
    • There may be different requirements for a plan
    • You’ll likely pay higher fees
  • View special enrollment qualifications on

How much healthcare do you need?

  • Are you moderately healthy?
    • You could balance copays with premium costs
  • What is your out of pocket maximum?
    • Your maximum family exposure could potentially cost you $$$$ if someone gets ill

What’s the first step in selecting the right health plan for you?

  • Check to make sure your providers accept the insurance policy before signing up. It may be hard to find a doctor in your area.
  • Do your due diligence before enrolling. It may be more difficult or costlier to switch once later.
  • Check to see how much your prescriptions will cost on the new plan
    • If you take a lot of brand name drugs these could cost more
  • Review office visit and prescription costs. Many plans require you to meet a deductible before contributing.

How to calculate healthcare cost

  • Cost of the premium itself
  • Max out-of-pocket expenses
  • What’s the cost of copays and how often do you expect to visit your primary physician or specialists?
  • What are you spending for prescriptions?

Things to consider for your healthcare

  • Does your premium cover the services you use?
  • What hospitals are in your network?
  • $12k Minimum – $48k Maximum  to qualify for subsidies through
    • Subsidies would be $24k-$96k for a 2-person, husband and wife household
    • If you’re filing jointly, your healthcare income is based on the household income level.
  • If you don’t qualify for subsidies, you very well could pay more if you signup for a policy through

Lastly, it’s cheaper to move to Canada. But it’s cold.

Vessel Coworking

Join us each month at Vessel Coworking, now generously hosting Freelance Austin monthly meetings. Your first visit is free, so go online and book a tour. Fast, reliable internet with personal Ethernet connections at every desk, a free conference room with AppleTV and white board, 40 custom-built wooden tables, private phone rooms and complimentary coffee, water, tea and healthy snacks included. Thanks, Vessel!

Janel Simms
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