August 10, 2023

ACA marketplace and the Self-Employed

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace provides health insurance options for individuals, including self-employed people or independent contractors. However, it is important to evaluate whether the ACA marketplace is the best option for self-employed individuals. This outline will explore the advantages and disadvantages of the ACA marketplace for this group.

Benefits of ACA marketplace for independent workers

Wide range of insurance options

While the ACA Marketplace offers a range of plans with varying levels of coverage, it's important to evaluate your medical needs, such as prescription medications, regular doctor visits, and any chronic conditions. Choose a plan that provides the coverage you need.

Subsidies and tax credits

A key benefit of the ACA Marketplace are the subsidies provided through the ACA Marketplace. These can make insurance more affordable for individuals with lower incomes. If your income is low or fluctuates as a self-employed person, you may qualify for subsidies that significantly reduce your monthly premiums.

Guaranteed coverage

For individuals with significant health concerns, the ACA Marketplace might be the best choice as pre-existing conditions are covered and individuals cannot be denied coverage based on health status

Drawbacks of ACA marketplace for self-employed individuals

Cost of premiums

While there are subsidies, premiums can be expensive especially for those with higher incomes. The subsidies may not be sufficient to offset the increased premium costs.

Limited network of providers

Some insurance plans on the ACA Marketplace may have a limited network of healthcare providers which restricts your choice of doctors and hospitals

Alternatives to ACA marketplace for self-employed individuals

Health sharing ministries

There are faith-based organizations that provide a community-based approach to healthcare. In this option, members share medical expenses. One limitation is that premiums may be prohibitive as members with significant health concerns join.

Association health plans

Many independent professionals can join a group plan through a professional or trade association. There is a potential for lower premiums and broader network of providers. One drawback here is that there is additional cost that may be incurred with association dues and other mandatory association fees.

Co-op/Group health plans

Self-employed individuals can leverage the group purchasing power of co-operatives or platforms without having to join a faith-based ministry or professional association. Opolis, a co-operative platform helps self-employed individuals access affordable, premium health insurance.

Private health insurance

The most expensive but the most flexible coverage option is private health insurance. Independent workers can purchase health insurance directly from private insurers.


While the ACA marketplace offers benefits such as a wide range of insurance options and subsidies, it may not be the best option for all self-employed individuals. Factors such as cost, network of providers, and administrative burden should be considered when evaluating alternatives to the ACA marketplace. Ultimately, independent workers should carefully assess their healthcare needs and explore all available options before making a decision.