Is there good insurance for freelancers?

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I can’t quit my job. One big reason is that I can’t afford health insurance on my own. (Another is that I need an income, and I can’t lift heavy objects.) So I was intrigued when I learned a few years ago of the Freelancers Union, a New York-based group that offers health insurance among other things to solo practitioners. The idea is that by banding together, freelancers can demand insurance at rates comparable to what employees of large firms pay.

As with all great proposals, this one has some hitches. Among them, this, from Gawker today:

What’s this? Members of the Freelancers Union are up in arms over badly-executed changes to their health insurance benefits! Oh, the irony! On November 30, the union, which says it “represents the needs and concerns of America’s growing independent workforce,” sent a memo out to its 15,000 New York metropolitan-area members who receive health insurance through the organization, announcing that coverage under their current health plan, HIP, would end December 31 in favor of more expensive coverage under Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. “If you want to wake up with insurance on New Year’s Day, you have to let us know which of the plans from Empire or PerfectHealth you want,” the announcement read.

Unpleasant, but who doesn’t deal with annoying administrative missives from healthcare companies? Here’s the hitch:

We’re hearing that, despite having completed all the paperwork required for the union-wide switch, plenty of freelancers are indeed waking up this morning to an uninsured New Year! “FU dropped the ball on this,” one union member complains on the chat section of the organization’s site.

No one likes dealing with healthcare snafus. But as an employee of a large organization, I know that when push comes to shove, someone at the company will help me sort out whatever mess I find myself in. If an HR type dropped the ball on registering thousands of workers in a new insurance program, believe me, her severed head would be found impaled upon a stick in the lobby.

This kind of story is exactly what spooks people like me back into the warm embrace of cubicle slavehood. It’s scary out there! They might lose my paperwork, and I won’t have a staff administrator to swoop in and save the day! I still can’t lift heavy objects!

Anyone out there who’s a) gone solo and b) found affordable, reliable insurance coverage? What’s the secret? How much do you pay? Is there good insurance for freelancers?

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