Health Insurance for Small Consulting Firms
Before quitting my job to start this business, I spoke with several self-employed people to get their advice. Without exception, their first question was “how are you going to get health insurance?” I told them that Kristin planned to keep working and that we would get health insurance through her employer until the Affordable Care Act (ACA) kicked in and we could get insurance on the private market. Like almost everyone over the age of 40, I have pre-existing conditions that would have prevented me from getting health insurance prior to the passage of the ACA; I am healthy enough to ride a bicycle across the United States, but not healthy enough to get health insurance prior to the ACA.
For all of the problems that the federal exchange has had, the exchange makes it possible (if not necessarily easy) to compare insurance prices in different locations. To compare costs for different locations, go to Healthcare.gov under the “Get Answers” section for “Where can I find 2017 Marketplace plans and prices?”
Figure 1 shows a summary of the costs and availability of plans for a zip code.
If you collect information from several zip codes, you can start to compare insurance costs as shown in Table 1. Bronze plans are expected to cover 60% of expected costs, Silver 70%, Gold 80% and Platinum 90% (See Minnesota Rate Release Packet).
The only conclusion one can draw from the small data set shown in Table 1 and Figure 2 is that price and number of policies available are related. The number of policies available is largely a proxy for the number of insurers in the market. Whether competition is the cause for lower insurance prices, or more competition is the effect or less expensive and more readily available delivery cannot be determined from this data set.
| Table 1. Comparison of Average Health Insurance Costs and Availability on Healthcare.gov. Retrieved July 13, 2017.|
Costs for people who are near 65 would be about 1.5-2 times higher while costs for those near 18 would be about 1/2 the costs shown here.
|2906||Providence||Rhode Island||NA ~ $NA||NA ~ $NA||NA ~ $NA||Industrial|
|23173||Richmond||Virginia||14 ~ $264||15 ~ $308||3 ~ $406||Industrial|
|29342||Gaffney||South Carolina||5 ~ $336||15 ~ $382||5 ~ $472||Small City|
|43612||Toledo||Ohio||19 ~ $275||34 ~ $303||9 ~ $361||Industrial|
|48109||Ann Arbor||Michigan||23 ~ $280||30 ~ $362||6 ~ $466||1 ~ $506||Industrial|
|48236||Detroit||Michigan||32 ~ $239||41 ~ $312||9 ~ $388||1 ~ $474||Industrial|
|48501||Flint||Michigan||26 ~ $239||35 ~ $311||7 ~ $401||1 ~ $477||Industrial|
|49770||Petosky||Michigan||13 ~ $249||22 ~ $317||5 ~ $447||1 ~ $510||Small City|
|55082||Stillwater||Minnesota||NA ~ $NA||NA ~ $NA||NA ~ $NA||Downwind|
|55374||Rogers||Minnesota||NA ~ $NA||NA ~ $NA||NA ~ $NA||Upwind|
|55447||Minneapolis||Minnesota||NA ~ $NA||NA ~ $NA||NA ~ $NA||Industrial|
|59808||Missoula||Montana||10 ~ $381||8 ~ $474||6 ~ $593||Small City|
|59937||Whitefish||Michigan||5 ~ $429||4 ~ $514||3 ~ $610||Small City|
|60613||Chicago||Illinois||11 ~ $333||21 ~ $353||6 ~ $454||Industrial|
|61820||Champaign||Illinois||4 ~ $396||4 ~ $489||1 ~ $579||Small City|
|75019||Coppell||Texas||8 ~ $328||18 ~ $359||6 ~ $461||Downwind|
|75167||Waxahachie||Texas||5 ~ $361||5 ~ $466||3 ~ $560||Upwind|
|76201||Denton||Texas||7 ~ $342||15 ~ $377||4 ~ $527||Downwind|
|77840||College Station||Texas||5 ~ $352||5 ~ $453||5 ~ $545||Small City|
|97035||Portland||Oregon||14 ~ $279||14 ~ $347||9 ~ $415||Industrial|