Questions, Studio Business

Forum Q&A: Health Insurance for Self-Employed Music Teachers

Our last Forum Q&A post was sharing about the first piano you learned on as a child.  It was fun hearing your piano stories!

pitr_First_aid_iconIt’s time for a new Forum Q&A topic.  This one is an important topic for any self-employed music teacher to consider: Health insurance!

Do you pay for your own health insurance out-of-pocket, or does your spouse’s job provide insurance for you?  If you are paying for health insurance out-of-pocket, did you find insurance through the services partnered with MTNA, or through another source?  Does your insurance only cover major medical, or does it cover annual check-ups, etc.?  Do you feel that your health insurance adequately covers what your needs?  Is the premium reasonable, and is the co-pay/co-insurance reasonable? 

I’ll admit that this topic is timely for me, because I am currently shopping for health insurance.  As I’ve been researching health insurance, I found it very interesting to learn how difficult it can be for self-employed individuals in the United States to find both adequate and affordable coverage, especially for those who have “pre-existing conditions.”

This is a topic definitely worth discussing.  I hope you’ll all take a moment to leave a comment below to share your experience!

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19 thoughts on “Forum Q&A: Health Insurance for Self-Employed Music Teachers”

  1. What a brilliant topic! I live in the UK and although I’m covered for medical expenses by our National Health Service, I am currently looking into insurance for if i ever got sick or if an accident happened and I couldn’t teach for a while. I wonder if anyone else has any insurance or protection against this?

  2. Interesting topic, Joy. Until this past year, I was covered under my husband’s health insurance (and we barely used it). Last November, my husband cut back to part-time so he would be able to travel with his band more extensively (he’s a musician as well). Thankfully, because we had barely used our previous insurance & didn’t have an “pre-existing conditions”, we were able to get an independent plan fairly easily. Our plan is $2500 deductible per person and covers 1 Primary Care visit per year, 1 Gyno appointment & partial drug coverage. Pretty bare minimum but we thought we’d be fine. Unfortunately, a few months after changing to this plan I experienced some major (and unexpected) health issues which has cost us so much money–I reached my deductible + we obviously still have had to pay the monthly installment (for our plan, our monthly is $254) & I also started seeing a doctor who isn’t covered by my insurance (which is ridiculous since he’s the only one that has actually been able to help me!) so that’s been even more out-of-pocket. It’s been a hard road for us this past year. I would have sworn that having insurance that only covers major medical would be absolutely fine for us in this stage of life (<30 years old), but it's ended up being an unexpected burden with the way things turned out for me health-wise this past year. Hoping & praying for better times to come! Best wishes as you make decisions with your own health care!

  3. My husband and I are both self-employed. We finally found that it simply is not cost-effective to carry private insurance. We began using natural supplements to ward of things like colds, flu, respiratory/sinus infections, etc. And just stopped running to the doctor for every little thing. I can count on one had the number of times our family of 5 has actually needed a doctor in the past 10 years.

    Many doctors and hospitals give discounts to cash patients, because their insane rates are only that high because of how the insurance companies operate. So, you will actually come out better off by putting that $800/month in a savings account specifically for medical expenses.

  4. I consider myself to be very fortunate that I have excellent health care coverage through my husbands employer, but, as the mother of 4 young people in their 20’s just starting out, I understand how costly insurance can be. I’d like to encourage you to have insurance, if only for the unforeseen accident that can cost tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. My son was hit by a car while biking to work last fall and suffered a severe concussion-he is still taking physical therapy sessions twice a week.The cost has been in the tens of thousands. My husband was out running one morning and fell- broke 3 ribs to the tune of $11,000- no hospitalization required but an urgent car-care facility fee with X-rays, a referral to the emergency room, and more extensive x-rays for possible internal damage. Would you want to be facing $11,00 for simple fall?

  5. I have individual insurance through Golden Rule. It’s…ok. The premium is reasonable (about $100/month for just me), and it does cover 3 or 4 office visits per year and generic prescriptions with a small co-pay. However, the deductible’s $5000 and there’s no coverage at all for non-generic prescriptions. When I fell and had to go to the emergency room last year, I ended up having to pay somewhere around 80-90% of the total price. Plus there’s a specific rider saying that my only pre-existing condition (arthritis) is not covered. At all.

  6. I am not in the US, but I am currently shopping round as well and plan to pay for it out of pocket. There’s no other choice, really!

  7. I’m really happy I’m covered by my husband’s insurance… if not I think I’d be looking at taking another p/t job to help me out because I know it can be really difficult!

  8. My husband is a school teacher, but we have opted out of his work insurance because the monthly out of pocket cost was extremely high. We were able to find a private plan with Blue Cross/Blue Shield through a local agent that has a much lower monthly premium and better coverage overall. We have a $25 copay for doctor’s visits and reasonable deductibles on prescriptions.

  9. I’m sooooo glad we are talking about this. Even through MTNA and through USAA, the health insurance cost is just so ridiculous. There is just so much frustration of being self employed and not being able to carry insurance due to high cost.

    Either we have to be making a lot of money as independent piano teachers and/or rely on our spouse to have us be insured. Or you really have to be financially struggling in order to get government assistance. I know we pay close to 30 % on our income tax yet the fact that we don’t get any help from the government is pretty sad. Hope someone could give us a great quote on health insurance policy. I’m still hopeful….

  10. I’ll just say I’m so grateful to be living in Canada, where everyone is automatically covered for doctor visits, emergency room and hospital treatments, x-rays, etc. We do have insurance through my husband’s employment that covers 80% of our prescription costs — since he has an ongoing condition, that’s a huge help for us.

  11. I have to echo the sentiments of those who say how important coverage can be. Coverage isn’t for the typical day-to-day issues – it’s for the emergencies that you cannot foresee. Two years ago my husband was injured at the gym due to faulty equipment. If he had not been insured, we would still be paying off his debt today. If emergency care is all you can afford right now – get it. I used to pay about $135 a month for that type of insurance.

  12. My husband and I are both self-employed. I have been very happy with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. We have had several policies over the past 10 years. I currently have a Lumenos Plan. Yes, the deductible is high. Yes, the premium it’s at the upper limit of what our budget can handle. But all preventive care is covered at 100%, and anything over the deductible is covered at 100%, meaning that a major incident would leave my family’s out-of-pocket expense no more than the deductible. In addition, there is a linked HSA account to help budget for that, too. myMy

  13. I am divorced and am self-employed. I carry Aetna health insurance. Because I am older amd have some pre-existing conditions, it is very expensive. I previously was a CPA in corporate tax and had great benefits through my employer. I miss the benefits and some of the social aspects of work in corporate life. However, despite the high cost of insurance, no paid time off, etc., I wouldn’t trade the joy of teaching music to children for anything. I am much happier amd healthier following my passion.

  14. Our family is a member of a health sharing organization, in which the members pay each other’s medical expenses. As of right now, such organizations are exempt from the insurance requirements now facing us in the United States. We have published medical needs twice — once when my son tried to shut the hatchback of our car on my head, and the second when he had a ruptured appendix. Because we are not insured, we were able to get his $82,000 medical bills reduced to $11,000 and our fellow members paid every penny of it, except for $850 which our community orchestra provided through a fund-raiser. Our children are still at home, and are eligible to be included in our family membership until they turn 25. I could go on for a long time singing the praises of this system. The organization we belong to is Samaritan Ministries International. The other one I know of is Medi-Share. Those two are for professed Christians, but I understand that there are others as well. Another advantage is that we do not have to follow the rules that insurance companies have. For example, a friend of mine was able to avoid some very expensive and risky tests — without insurance, her doctor was free to use common sense and treat her according to his good judgment.

    We also agree with Rebecca that a great deal of medical expense could be avoided if people would live healthier lifestyles.

  15. I know this is an older blog post, but I’ve found that Obamacare has REALLY helped me out with this. I became unexpectedly pregnant in the Fall, and my current insurance runs out in two days (I had a special plan for graduates of USC that only lasted for 6 months) but thankfully with Obamacare, I was able to get very affordable insurance. Before the Affordable Care Act, my pregnancy would have been classified as a pre-existing condition.

  16. Can you tell us Joy what you decided for your health insurance? I know this post is an older one, but I’m hoping to leave my public school teaching job for private piano teaching in a year or two!

    1. As it turned out, just as my health insurance under my parents was expiring, my husband was offered a full time job with benefits for both of us. So, I was saved from having to shop and buy my own health insurance, thankfully. At least, for now!

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