You’re Not Alone: Freelancers Needing Health Insurance Can Get Help From This Group

Affordable Care Act navigators help guide those looking for insurance during an enrollment event at Southwest General Hospital on Jan. 29, 2016, in San Antonio, Texas.
Affordable Care Act navigators help guide those looking for insurance during an enrollment event at Southwest General Hospital on Jan. 29, 2016, in San Antonio, Texas. Care.com, Fiverr, Etsy and other companies who hire freelancers have started Tech United for Independent Access to Healthcare to help their freelancers with the Affordable Care Act open enrollment. Eric Gay/AP Photo

The enrollment period to get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act opened Nov. 1 and runs through Dec.15, 2017.

There are quite a few changes this time around, leaving Americans who rely on the ACA for health care coverage with a lot of questions.

Care.com, Fiverr, Etsy and other companies popular with freelancers and side gig workers are lending a hand to help people get the answers they need about the open enrollment period. They’ve formed a new coalition called Tech United for Independent Access to Healthcare.

The group plans to get the word out across several channels, including newsletters, blog posts and social media. Some may also use proprietary email systems to message their user bases directly.

Tech United wants to do more than just remind people to sign up for health care coverage; it also wants to make the process as smooth as possible.

Many of the Tech United coalition members have teamed up with benefits brokerage platform Stride Health, a free service that matches people with the most cost-effective health plan to meet their needs.

Workers provide basic information on where they live and what type of medical coverage they’re looking for. Then, Stride combs the health plan database and presents a few options to choose from.

If you see one you like, Stride walks you through the application process to get you covered in about 10 minutes.  

If you’re a freelancer or work side gigs for extra money, keep your eyes open for messages about open enrollment because they should start rolling out soon.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore the window of opportunity you have to purchase a health plan.

“If you don’t buy health insurance either as an active decision or because the deadline has passed, the government will fine you…” wrote Brent Messenger, Fiverr’s global head of community, in a guest post for Entrepreneur.com.

Last year’s fine was either $695 per adult and $347.50 per child under 18, or 2.5% of household income — whichever was greater.

People can avoid fines by signing up for health insurance by Dec. 15.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She loves helping freelancers live their best lives so look her up on Twitter (@lisah) if you’ve got a tip to share.

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