The Young Entrepreneur Council saw a need for health care options for entrepreneurs — and figured out a way to help solve the problem.
With ObamaCare’s new health insurance exchanges debuting this October, you might have questions about what kind of plan to buy—especially if you’re an entrepreneur, small business owner or freelancer. In fact, you might be wondering whether you’ll be able to afford health insurance at all.
To help you navigate the healthcare landscape, the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is launching a new website: StartupInsurance.com.
What is StartupInsurance.com?
StartupInsurance.com is a place where entrepreneurs can get quotes and apply for health insurance plans that have been selected just for them. “From start to finish, we want this to be a curated experience from a trusted source,” says Scott Gerber, Founder of the YEC.
In addition to StartupInsurance, the YEC is also launching FreelancerHealthcare.com and SMBinsurance.com to help freelancers and small business owners. Each website offers similar plans, but includes small nuances — for example, FreelancerHealthcare.com doesn’t offer group insurance.
You don’t have to be a member of the YEC to benefit.
Wait, is this the same as ObamaCare’s new health insurance exchange?
Nope. Under the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, nearly all Americans must have health insurance by 2014. To achieve this, the ObamaCare Health Insurance Exchange is launching in October. On your state’s health insurance exchange website, you’ll be able to compare the costs and benefits of different plans side by side to help you pick the best plan for you — it’s kind of like Kayak.com for health insurance. (More info about healthcare exchanges here.)
In contrast, StartupInsurance is a private alternative to buying through the state exchanges.
What does StartupInsurance give me that a state exchange won’t?
First off, the insurance plans you can find on StartupInsurance won’t be available through state exchanges. Rest assured, StartupInsurance’s full medical plans will still be totally compliant with the Affordable Care Act — that’s important so you don’t wind up paying any tax penalties for not being properly insured!
More specifically, Gerber stresses that the health insurance plans have been selected with entrepreneurs in mind, so you won’t have to sift through dozens of options that don’t meet your needs.
“In speaking to thousands of entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners over the years, we have learned what is important to them, what’s working for them — and, most importantly, what isn’t,” says Gerber. “This direct feedback has guided our thinking in creating StartupInsurance, a destination created by the very people it’s serving.”
Gerber also notes StartupInsurance is focusing on providing high levels of customer service. “You’ll always be able to reach a real person if you have a question,” he says.
It should be noted that ObamaCare’s Health Insurance Exchange is concentrating on customer service, too. Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, reports: “Consumers will have a variety of sources available to help them shop for coverage in the Health Insurance Exchange, including navigators, community health centers, agents and brokers, a 24-hour-a-day call center and a live online chat with a customer service representative on HealthCare.gov.”
So, what’s the bottom line?
If you’re self-employed, freelancing or running a small business — and you’d rather get a tooth pulled than research your health insurance options — StartupInsurance could be your ticket to a stress-free shopping experience.
Annie Rose Favreau directs content and community strategy for a tech startup in Seattle. You can find her Twittering away at @A_Favreau.