Traditionally, people in full-time employment get their health insurance coverage through their employer. For those who are self-employed working as 1099 contractors, or those doing part-time jobs, the health insurance options that are available for them are somewhat more complicated. However, getting covered is still possible, especially when one is ready to think outside the traditional box. There are many examples of independent contractors and those working as automotive mechanics or service technicians mostly fall under this category.
Having the facts at your fingertips could make all the difference as different insurance providers offer varying protection levels. The scope of coverage could also vary widely. Having said that, what are the options that are available for automotive service technicians and mechanics in the US when it comes to health insurance?
The group health plan option comes in the form of an employer-provided welfare benefit plan maintained or established by an employee organization or employer, or both. It is designed to offer participants with medical care (or their dependents) through reimbursement or directly. This is suitable for those working in the formal automotive industry and most plans fall under the purview of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). If you are a part-time worker, you still could benefit from the group plan offered by your employer although the contribution made on your behalf could be less in contrast to that of full-time employees. Certainly, this is better than having zero health insurance.
The 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act is a US federal law designed to set the minimum standards in regard to voluntarily established health pension plans in the private sector. The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) in the Department of Labor is in charge of enforcing and administering the ERISA provisions.
Independent Technicians and Mechanics
Although getting health insurance through an employer-based plan is probably the most beneficial, it’s also extremely difficult for independent contractors. Many automotive service technicians and mechanics in the US work for auto body shops or auto dealerships, mostly helping out when they need your unique skills or when they are overwhelmed with work. You may want to explore the possibility of the employer augmenting your salary by including several insurance benefits. Yes, you may end up making less in terms of direct income, but you will be getting the benefit of accessing health insurance like their regular employees.
Since 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made it been it easier to get affordable health insurance for every American. However, you need to keep yourself updated about changes to ACA being made under the Trump Administration to see how they affect you individually. Look at recent moves directed towards eliminating several cost-sharing subsidies previously made by the government to insurers to help in meeting health care costs for those in the low-income bracket.
If you are a part-time worker and unable to access job-based insurance, consider buying your health insurance in the standard Health Insurance Marketplace. Depending on your income, you might even qualify for some savings.
Finding a suitable health insurance solution is important for those working in the automotive industry in view of the risky nature of their work. It may require you do some creative thinking, studying the relative coverage benefits critically but the bottom-line is that different options are available even for those who are self-employed, on 1099 contracts, or working part-time.