How Do Real Estate Professionals Get Health Insurance?
Health Insurance For Real Estate Agents
Real estate agents aren’t immune to insurance. In this industry, agents need everything from E&O insurance to commercial property insurance, to make sure you are protected against anything that could happen. But, what about health insurance? Surely, agents need that, too. In a country where a house can sometimes be more affordable than a trip to the doctor, how can you find a plan that keeps your family afloat health-wise, without getting you underwater money-wise? In the United States, health insurance is not only hard to come by, but also completely unaffordable in many cases, especially if you don’t have a “formal” job with which your employer will provide benefits. This can leave agents with a lot to worry about.
Luckily, though, there are plans out there for agents, brokers, and Realtors, so that you can be covered and focus on what matters — even if it may involve going to some extreme measures to do so.
Understanding Benefits Basics
Before we can get into the discussion of health insurance, it’s important to understand how benefits work. While there are many exceptions, the general rule is that full-time employees of a company, school, union, hospital, etc., would be provided with a ‘benefits’ package upon getting hired. This benefits package may include a 401K, sick time, vacation time, and ultimately, access to health insurance, including dental and vision. Now, just because your employer provides you with this benefit, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. Some plans cover more or less than others. Still, having access to some kind of health insurance is better than nothing.
The main reason that real estate professionals wouldn’t have these same benefits is primarily due to the fact that brokers and Realtors, in many cases, are considered ‘independent contractors’ or ‘self-employed’, at least as far as the IRS is concerned. This may be different from real estate agents who are employed at a brokerage and may have health insurance provided, but not always. Agents, too, may also be considered self-employed.
Those who are independent contractors or self-employed rarely get health insurance in the United States. And, this doesn’t just go for real estate professionals, but also freelancers, artists, restaurant workers, and small business owners.
Health Insurance Statistics for Real Estate Professionals
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not health insurance is an issue among real estate professionals, then you would have to look at the statistics in order to get a better picture. According to the NAR Health Insurance Coverage Surveys, 1 in 4 Realtors reported having no health insurance. Of those, 73% said that they weren’t covered because of high premium costs, while 4% said they were actually denied altogether due to pre-existing conditions. 66% reported that the firm they were affiliated with didn’t provide them with coverage. Of those who were covered, 43% had purchased their own individual market plan, while 27% were under their spouse’s or partner’s plan.
Because of all this, it’s no surprise that the NAR is working hard to fight this issue, so that all of their members can be covered without concern.
Health Insurance Options
Many real estate professionals who don’t have access to health insurance may have other options before trying to find a plan for themselves. For instance, they may go on their spouse’s insurance, or if they are young enough, they may even still qualify to be under their parents’ insurance plan. They may have served in the military, or they may even have another job just to get health insurance. But, let’s be realistic; neither of these options are necessarily ideal or sustainable. Therefore, it’s a good idea for real estate professionals to have an idea about which main health insurance options are available:
- Join a brokerage that provides health insurance (ex. Keller Williams)
- ACA (Affordable Care Act)
- Realtors Insurance Marketplace
- Visit Healthcare.gov
What Do Lab Coat Agents Report?
Health insurance is a topic that’s routinely discussed on Lab Coat Agents. Unfortunately, many of these conversations revealed what we already know — that most agents aren’t covered, and if they are, it’s through their spouse, their company, or, they pay out of pocket a fairly high monthly premium. Regardless, if you are curious what other LCAs are doing, perhaps one of these health insurance options can help you out, too:
- Plans through clinics (Myaliveandwell.com)
- Liberty Health Share
- Christian Health Ministries
- Form an LLC
- Join the National Guard
- Student insurance through taking classes at a community college
The Bottom Line
As you can see, unfortunately, there aren’t too many health insurance options available for real estate professionals. And, if you aren’t an NAR member, then you won’t have access to the Realtors Insurance Marketplace. Being uninsured in the United States is a big problem, as some of the most basic doctor’s visits or procedures can cost thousands upon thousands of dollars. And, if you’re an agent working off commission, you have to be smart with your money as it is. Not only that, but Americans have to pay a fine when tax season comes around if they aren’t covered. Your best bet is to do some research and see what plans are available to you, before forgoing the option of having health insurance altogether. Because, at the end of the day, you really never know what can happen.
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