In the current digital climate, freelancing has become an attractive career pathway for many. Freelancing comes with a unique set of risks, as those engaged in gig labor are not protected by traditional employment agreements and are therefore vulnerable to market fluctuations.
Moreover, rising inflation paired with decreasing incomes leaves most freelance workers unable or disinclined to buy essential health and life insurance coverage, despite its vital role in safeguarding their personal and professional well-being.
Health insurance is an essential part of financial security for freelancers, providing the much-needed peace of mind. Let’s take a close look at the range and benefits that health insurance can offer to the gig workforce.
HOW LARGE IS INDIA’S GIG ECONOMY?
According to ASSOCHAM, India’s gig economy will expand to $455 billion by 2024 at a CAGR of 17%, with post-COVID-19 growth potentially doubling earlier forecasts. Workers who do not have a conventional employer-employee relationship are sometimes called ‘gig workers’, and their labour is typically contracted for a limited time.
By 2025, it is estimated that an unprecedented number of 315 million workers in India will be operating independently as freelancers. Ranging from bloggers and consultants to designers and software developers alike, a host of professionals will embrace their autonomy by opting out of regular 9-5 employment in favor of harnessing the advantages offered by this fast-growing sector.
According to a Niti Aayog study titled “India’s Booming Gig and Platform Economy,” freelancers would account for 4.1% of India’s total employment by FY2030, up from 1.5% in FY2018. Now more than ever, even companies are becoming increasingly interested in hiring freelance specialists.
WHY SHOULD FREELANCERS BUY HEALTH INSURANCE?
With the responsibilities of being a boss comes great freedom. However, one must be well-prepared for their financial obligations and any potential surprises that come without the assurance of regular income, corporate healthcare coverage, pension plans or end-of-service benefits.
Despite the health risks, many hourly and project-based workers have no option but to keep going to maintain wages. This situation could cause financial insecurity for countless individuals as inconsistent income sources make it difficult to predict when money will come in next.
If you’re a freelancer, here is why you must get health insurance.
- Ensure adequate financial cushion to cover your healthcare needs
Freelancers should ensure adequate financial cushion to cover their healthcare needs through health insurance because it can provide financial protection in case of unexpected medical expenses. Without health insurance, freelancers may have to pay for healthcare costs out of pocket, which can be very expensive. Having health insurance can also provide access to preventative care and essential health services, improving overall health and well-being.
Rest assured that if you have been diagnosed with an illness and require treatment, your insurance company will be there to provide comprehensive coverage. By investing in a good policy, you can make sure those medical costs are taken care of without worrying about out-of-pocket expenses.
- Access to preventive care
Health insurance can provide access to preventive care, such as annual check-ups and screenings for early detection of diseases. By taking care of your health proactively, you may be able to avoid serious health issues in the future, which could otherwise prevent you from working and earning money.
- Improved peace of mind
One of the biggest advantages of having health insurance as a freelancer is the peace of mind it can provide. Knowing that you’re covered in the event of an unexpected health issue can help you focus on your work without worrying about the financial implications of a potential health crisis. This can help you manage stress and avoid burnout, which is essential for maintaining a successful freelance business.
- Crucial for freelancers working in high-risk areas
As a freelancer working in a potentially hazardous environment, such as construction or manual labour, it’s important to prioritize your safety and well-being. Accidents can happen unexpectedly, and the consequences of being injured on the job can be severe. In addition to the physical and emotional toll, accidents can also lead to financial strain and jeopardize your ability to work and earn income.
That’s why having health insurance coverage is crucial for freelancers in high-risk fields. With health insurance, you can protect yourself against the costs of medical treatment, hospital stays, and other related expenses in case of an accident. This can help alleviate some of the financial burden that comes with unexpected accidents and give you the peace of mind you need to focus on your recovery.
Furthermore, in the event of a work-related injury, insurance could provide coverage for physical therapy, which can be critical for regaining mobility and returning to work. As a freelancer, your health and well-being are crucial to your success, and having comprehensive health insurance coverage can help safeguard your future and protect your livelihood.
As a self-employed individual, you have access to numerous tax incentives, one of which is Section 80D deduction for health insurance premiums. Make sure to take advantage of this and secure your financial future.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHILE BUYING HEALTH INSURANCE:
- Compare Plans: Compare different health insurance plans to find the one that best suits your needs and budget. You should look for plans with low premiums and deductibles and one that covers the essential health benefits you require.
- Check the Network: You should check if the plan you are considering has a network of healthcare providers that you are comfortable with. You should also check if your preferred doctors and hospitals are included in the plan’s network.
- Understand the Costs: Understand the costs associated with your health insurance plan, including premiums, deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. You should also be aware of any out-of-pocket maximums or limits on coverage.
- Read the Fine Print: Carefully read the fine print of your health insurance plan to understand the details and limitations of your coverage. You should also be aware of any exclusions or limitations, such as pre-existing conditions, and any waiting periods before coverage begins.
IN A NUTSHEL
Investing in the right health insurance plan is crucial for any freelancer looking to stay protected. Not only will it provide essential coverage and security, but also offer specialized services that help maintain your physical well-being. Buy health insurance today for a better tomorrow!