Q. Are there programs that help the self-employed pay for health insurance?
A. The premium subsidies and cost-sharing subsidies built into Obamacare are very beneficial for the self-employed. Although the IRS began allowing self-employed people to deduct health insurance premiums several years ago, the Obamacare subsidies are the first time that self-employed people have been able to receive any real assistance with their health insurance costs.
That said, the subsidies are income-based and are not available to people with household incomes above 400 percent of poverty level (250 percent for cost-sharing subsidies).
Self-employed people often find that they can join a local or national trade association, and many of these groups offer various types of health benefits. Be sure to read the fine print though, because sometimes even very reputable organizations offer their members coverage through limited benefit plans or discount plans that are not regulated by the ACA and are not a good substitute for real health insurance.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.