IÂ’m Self-employed As a Private Duty Nurse; What Should I Know About Health Insurance?
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IÂ’m Self-employed As a Private Duty Nurse; What Should I Know About Health Insurance?

Whether you are a nurse, window washer, or brick layer, if you work for yourself, you will need some form of health insurance. Premiums can be, and often are very high due to the rising cost of medical care. If you are a freelancer with freelancer's union insurance, or you have employees, you should have access to health insurance coverage.

Whether you are a nurse, window washer, or brick layer, if you work for yourself, you will need some form of health insurance. Premiums can be, and often are very high due to the rising cost of medical care. I am a nurse, and for a long time I worked for myself. I was what you might call a freelancer. I hired myself out to staffing agencies. Hospitals and nursing homes, when they cannot meet their staffing needs will hire nurses for by the day or by the week.

The money was good when I worked as an agency nurse. The pay is very good because we, as nurses go into a facility cold with know knowledge of the unit we are working, and of course we know nothing about the residents. I say (residents instead of patients) because in nursing homes the patients are called residents. In the hospital, we could find our way around easily because the patients are in their rooms. In the nursing home, though, the residents are all over the place. Imagine giving medicines and you call out the name “Mrs. Brown”… and everyone raises their hand to you, or no one acknowledges you? That happens. It’s a hard job, and it does not come with any benefits.

I was fortunate that I didnÂ’t have to buy health insurance for myself, because I was married at the time, and my husband worked for the State of Georgia. I was covered under his State Merit insurance. If I had not been married and had my husbandÂ’s insurance I would have had to carry my own insurance, and it would not have been cheap.

If you do have to purchase your own insurance, you can choose between personal insurance, freelancerÂ’s union insurance, unemployed health insurance, and a health savings account. One of the cheapest ways to get health insurance when you are self-employed is to buy a policy with a high deductible. You can get some really low premiums if you have a high out of pocket deductible, which is fine if you never get hurt or sick. One of the better ways to become insured is to join a group, such as the freelancerÂ’s insurance. You can get group health insurance a little more affordable than you might be able to on your own.

When you work for yourself you are allowed to deduct what you spend on self-employment insurance from your taxes. This is good, but how do you know how much health insurance you can afford when you work for yourself? If you are a sole proprietor, like I was as a freelancer, this is pretty easy to know. Add up all the money you make in a month, subtract about 40 percent for taxes, and subtract the bills you have to pay every month, and subtract your living expenses, including food, rent. The money you have left in your budget after you have paid everything and allowed for taxes is the money you have left for health insurance.

I had dreams of forming my own nursing agency to staff hospitals, nursing homes and private homes with RNs, LPNs, and CNAs. I could have done this the same way the agencies that used me did, by not offering any form of health insurance to the freelancers. Every nurse that works through an agency should carry her/his own health and liability insurance. If I had carried my own health insurance, I could have deducted the cost of my premium from my taxes. Since I didnÂ’t carry my own insurance, I could not claim any portion of the insurance premium that my husband paid on my behalf.

If you are self-employed, and you have a business that employs anywhere from 2 to 50 employees you can give yourself a tax credit of $250 for each employee, if you pay a portion of their insurance premiums. This tax credit is very beneficial. It is a kind of equalizer, which puts back some of what you pay out on your employeesÂ’ health care.

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Comments (3)

Only in America can a health care worker be without health insurance. Our neighbors to the north really make us look stupid with this one! If we are going to stick with private health insurance, then the whole country should follow the lead of Rode Island, and get a program like RIte Care in place. This pays the premiums or helps pay the premiums for the working poor.

I'm going to write on Rite Care either today or tomorrow, and also write one for factoidz maybe too.

Michelle Phillips

Charlene:

I sent you a private message, and just wanted to inform you that your spelling needs to be improved to be a staff writer. You kept spelling "know" instead of "no" in the article above.

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