How to Get Health Benefits and Insurance for Your Blog

Gotta have it...!

[This is part of the Escaping the 9-5: My Road to ProBlogging series.]

I’ve gotten this question a number of times since becoming a professional blogger and it makes sense, especially if you have a family to feed when you start on your little adventure to become a blogger full time.

Without health benefits in line I would never have really considered making a move from the 9-5 into ProBlogging!

Besides the obvious financial concerns that a blogger should have (which can be many, but just make sure you “stay in the black!”) there are other ones like health insurance and health benefits that you’re going to have to either forgo or figure out. Most people will attempt the latter and begin the process of getting some.

There are only so many options (that I’m aware of) and please don’t consider me an expert in this subject at all! In fact, hopefully this blog post will give an opportunity for the real professionals to step in and offer some counsel and advice as well.

But here’s what I did to get health benefits and health insurance as a blogger:

COBRA Insurance:

I knew that there were a couple of different options but I first started with COBRA which stands for The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act and essentially it gives workers and their families continued group coverage and health benefits via their old employer.

For example, I left my full time job and continued to use their medical plan (called “continuation coverage”) for a bit even after I had left. Here are some things that I know about COBRA:

  1. It’s not cheap, but it works and for continued coverage in a plan that you and your family needs it does the job.
  2. Pricing is dependent on a number of different factors.
  3. Stipulations, coverage, and cost can be gotten (typically) directly from your old employer.

You can find out more here at the U.S. Department of Labor website.

Personal Insurance:

Although I applied, was accepted, and started on COBRA I knew that it wouldn’t be the best option, especially from a financial perspective. I thus began my research into getting personal insurance through a national and/or local vendor.

To be sure, I was not a professional and didn’t have a clue where to get started, but I asked my personal network for advice, asked questions via Twitter, and got a slew of recommendations for services to try.

Ultimately I connected up with a very strong and trusted referral via my brother who had been doing the same type of research (and I’m sure there’s someone in your network who has done a lot of the legwork already and who can give you all this information!) and started working through her as a local broker for health insurance plans.

She did a great job and presented me with 2 quotes from different sources (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and Kaiser Permanente) breaking down all the benefits, structure, and costs.

I’ve provided a screenshot of that Microsoft Excel document that she gave me so you can get an idea of what it looked like:

It was a very comprehensive outline of costs, benefits, etc.

As you can see it was a very robust document and my health insurance broker (email me if you’d like her contact info, she is the best!) broke it down and then I made a decision.

For a general overview the plans were very similar with one offering a bit more here and there than the other. The cost wasn’t too big of a difference either and I opted for BlueCross BlueShield in the end.

Despite the $900 price tag it was still $6 or $700 dollars cheaper than COBRA so I was doing alright in my book. And, the biggest factor was that my previous employer’s health insurance was BCBS of GA as well so our coverage wouldn’t change really at all and we could keep all the same doctors and physicians that we had already invested time and emotion into (and who we trusted).

So that’s what we went with, BCBS of GA with Health, Vision, and Dental coverage. I’m a very happy customer!

Small Business Insurance (for 2+ Bloggers):

The final option which I also began research in earnest was getting small business insurance for my startups and personal LLCs. At some point I will offer health insurance to my team and wanted to see if establishing that now would be beneficial for myself financially and my partners as a solution as well.

As it relates to blogs and being a blogger at some point you might also want to consider C/S-Corp or going the LLC (Limited Liability Company) route for your blog (turning your blog into a business) and if things continue to head in the direction that I am so far this will definitely be something I do down the line for TentBlogger.

Some Final Thoughts:

As I mentioned before, I ultimately went with personal/family insurance and that’ll be just fine for now as I coordinate my efforts with my team and as my blogging business grows, but it’s something to consider as an option as you do your research.

Ultimately you have to spend the time and energy to do the research and get all the information that you need to make the very best decision. For myself and my family (of 4) not having insurance was not an option as so I needed to make sure that I could adequately supply our needs comprehensively.

Just make sure you do the math, especially as you get closer to perhaps making that jump into professional blogging and make sure that your blog won’t hold you back (or down) financially as you take that leap of faith! A few bullet-point ideas to capture:

  1. Do the math! Make sure you can afford it!
  2. Start today, especially if you’re considering moving into full time blogging. Don’t make the decision after you jump off the cliff!
  3. Do your research, it pays big time.
  4. Talk with your existing employer about continuing coverage options.
  5. Trust your existing network and get a trusted referral if you can. Ask around. A lot.
  6. Get multiple quotes, consider all options.
  7. Do the math, again.

Good luck, and please feel free to add to this in the comment section if you know more about this than I do!

[This is part of the Escaping the 9-5: My Road to ProBlogging series.]