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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.


We cannot put too much stress on the importance of having health insurance.

If you have health insurance, do everything you can to keep it.

If you do not have health insurance, now is the time to do what you can to get it.

If you cannot get health insurance, click here for tips for accessing the health care system for people who are uninsured.

For additional information, see:

NOTE: As a general matter, health insurance premiums for people who are self employed are tax deductible. For more information, click here.

If You Have Health Insurance

Do whatever is necessary to keep your health insurance.

  • Consider paying your premiums by automatic deduction from your bank account so there is no chance of not paying a premium if you become sick. (If you place automatic overdraft prevention on your account, you will be protected in knowing the premium will be paid even if the account balance is low at the moment the premiums are withdrawn.)
  • If this doesn't work, at least consider making an extra premium payment so you will be a month ahead. This gives you an extra month's grace if needed.
  • Keep in mind that as a self-employed individual you are allowed to deduct all of your health insurance premiums. This deduction is especially valuable because it is an above the line deduction for Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). This means that you can take advantage of this deduction even if you do not itemize deductions on your tax return.
  • Learn how to maximize use of your health insurance. (To learn more, see: Health Insurance 101)
  • If you need help paying for premiums or co-pays, click here. 

If continuing to work on your own may become too much for you, but you're still able to work, consider going to work for an employer. (Larger employers tend to have a wide range of benefits available despite a health history.)

  • Because of a law known as HIPAA, your current insurance should keep you from being subjected to a period when the new policy doesn't cover any current health conditions.
  • Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), you can't be asked about your health condition when applying for a new job.
  • If you have a choice about health insurance policies, consider which is best for you with your health condition. Our Health Plan Evaluator can help you decide which policy is best for you.

If You Have HIV/AIDS: Every state has an AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). The program in many states includes a Health Insurance Program (known as "HIP") to pay monthly premiums. Unlike Medicaid, ADAP doesn't demand near-poverty. However, your income must still fall below a certain level which varies from state to state. A tax expert can often help you work it out so your taxable income qualifies you for ADAP next year . For example, one way is to make a charitable contribution.

To Learn More

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If You Do Not Have Health Insurance

Do everything you can to get health insurance. Lack of health insurance can cause a delay in seeking care, not purchasing necessary drugs or foregoing treatment. Any of these factors can lead to more serious and expensive health situations, unnecessary suffering and perhaps death.

As a self-employed person, you may qualify for health insurance through a group or association that ou may be eligible to join because of your expertise or because of your self-employed status. For example, check National Association For The Self-Employed ( offsite link).

If you are lucky enough to live in a state such as Vermont, you may be considered to be a group with access to small group health insurance. Federal law requires all small group insurance to be available for each member of the group, regardless of health condition (guaranteed-issue).

You may be able to qualify for an employer group policy if you hire an assistant to work the minimum number of hours per week that would qualify for an insurance company's standards. Group policies aren't subject to the same rules as individual policies and can cost significantly less than individual coverage.

Consider going to work for an employer that offers health insurance. Health insurance is that important. You may think that large corporations or the government don't hire people for the kind of work you do. However, there are few jobs normally performed by people who are self employed that are not also done by employees of large companies or the government. For example, bartenders who are normally self-employed could work for a hotel chain. If you work for a large employer, you may also get disability income insurance and life insurance in the bargain. Large corporations and government agencies usually offer the best benefits. (You cannot be asked health questions when applying for a job. In addition to your suitability for the job, the only question is whether you are physically and emotionally capable of performing the job).

People have been known to get married to someone who has insurance that covers spouses. If you're not going to live together, check the terms of the coverage to see how marriage is defined. Does it require that the spouses live together?

If none of the above options work for you, becuase of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") you can purchase individual health insurance despite your health history. To learn abou policies available in your state, see offsite link. If you cannot afford individual coverage, for information on how to obtain health care without insurance, see our article on Uninsured.