FAQ: Can/Does RID provide health insurance?
At the 2011 RID Business meeting, members made and passed the following motion:
RID conduct a new feasibility study regarding group rate comprehensive health insurance options for members and report back to the membership by the 2013 RID National Conference.
RID Headquarters (HQ) has researched the issue, and the determination is that we do not have the resources to provide comprehensive health insurance options for members. Providing health insurance for our members would have meant that RID would have had to administer the program, including collecting premiums, as well as issue cards and policies. In addition, RID is not the employer of its members, and this is a function usually performed by employers.
RID continues to get phone calls and emails regularly asking if we can/do provide health insurance for freelance interpreters. Mr. Gary Meyer, who provides liability insurance for our members, also receives numerous calls every year inquiring about the same.
Since the original question arose during the 2011 Business meeting, the legal landscape has changed most significantly because of the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (ACA-Obamacare).
Mr. Meyer was generous enough to provide us more detail.
I am Gary Meyer, Vice President of DHH Insurance Agency. Some of you may recognize me from the national RID conferences that I have attended since 2008, or you talked to me in the past about getting liability insurance for yourself.
I am here to share important information about health insurance. Both the RID office and I have received many calls in regard to offering health insurance for individual members. For many of you who are freelance, independent contractor, and self-employed, RID is not able to offer health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA-Obamacare).
Before the ACA, my agency was able to offer limited health insurance to the RID members, but now those products are not available due to the ACA. ACA is a program for individuals like you who don’t have access to employer’s health insurance.
The Health Insurance Marketplace is where you can purchase an Individual Health Insurance Plan. Depending on your home state, you may be able to purchase through state or from the Federal Program. If you need health insurance, you can use HealthCare.gov or your state’s marketplace (http://obamacarefacts.com/state-health-insurance-exchange/), to sign up and enroll in a plan during each year’s open enrollment period (http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-open-enrollment/).
There are a few things you need to know about the ACA. The ACA requires you to purchase and maintain major medical insurance (known as minimum essential coverage) throughout the year. If there is more than a lapse of coverage for 90 days, then a penalty may apply.
Details on what comprises the minimum coverage are available on the website. Alternatively, ask the Marketplace what they offer. There are a variety of different health insurance plans that should meet the requirement.
You can also purchase coverage through a private medical insurance company during their open enrollment period.
By using the Marketplace, you’ll find out if you qualify for cost assistance (http://obamacarefacts.com/insurance-exchange/calculating-tax-credits/) on your premium and/or out-of-pocket costs. Cost assistance is based on your income – which must be between 100% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) – and is only available through the Marketplace.
If you want to buy insurance outside of the Marketplace, you need to make sure it meets the requirements. Many insurers work with HealthCare.gov and can help enroll you in a Marketplace plan if you qualify for cost assistance during the open enrollment period.
If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact me directly – my information is located on the RID website: https://rid.org/membership/benefits/