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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Health insurance? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

drosenbe0813
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Long Island, NY
405 Posts

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After all of the marketing ideas that I have gotten over the years, I am pretty confident that I could make a living doing magic full time. My main concern would be what do I do for health insurance. I have a wife and 3 children. How do you full timers deal with health insurance? If you could give me an estimate of what it costs you, that would be great too.

David (FunN) Rosenberg
magic4u02
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
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Health Insurance is a tricky situation. We all must have it but it cost you an arm and a leg oif you have to get it as an individual.

I worked for a health insurance company for 8 years as a designer. The best bet would be to look into individual plans or plans that are made for the small business person. They all vary so pricing around and seeing what benefits you get for your money, is important.

You might also consider going to a health insurance broker. They deal with many insurance companies and may be better able to give you options and ideas.
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kenscott
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David

That is the Big reason my wife still works is for the insurance.

I have heard you can get a godd policey through Blue cross Blue shield.

But lack of benefits is the down side of being fulltime or self employed.

Ken
Jim Snack
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As Ken has pointed out, one strategy for self-employed magicians is to have an employed spouse with a family policy throught his or her place of employment. In lieu of that, you need to purchase a policy.

You will get the best rates by being a part of a group plan offered through a business or trade association, such as your local chamber of commerce.

My health insurance policy is through my local arts council which offers health insurance for its artist members. Our family policy costs about $7500 annually. Ouch! But that's one of the costs of being in business for yourself.

While lack of benefits is a downside of being self-employed, a good business person includes the cost of such expenses into his or her annual business plan and makes sure that the income is there to cover benefits as well as salary.
Jim Snack

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martini
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delta, pennsylvania
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Greetings David, Ken is right about Blue Cross and Blue Shield offering a policy. If you contact them ask when a non-group bulk signing is coming up. This is usually a two week time frame twice a year where you can sign up and get a lower rate, even though you are non-group at that point, they group you in with a lot of other self employed signers at the same time to give you a better deal. You can also check with the National Association of the Self Employed, as they offer a policy for us full timers as well. It is not cheap by any means so be prepared to spend some bucks for the coverage. The cost factors involve age, occupation, health, and deductable. Myself, I have a policy for my wife and I, as all the kids are now grown and on policies at their jobs. We have a $2,500 deductable, followed by a 80/20 coverage up to $10,000 and 100% after that. We have no co/pay doctor visits, no prescription plan, no dental, no optical. Accidents are covered from day 1 and 100% coverage. I am 47 and my wife is 48, and we pay $537.00 a month, paying quarterly at $1,611.00. I am constantly asked by magicians about should they go full time or not, and I ALWAYS ADVISE to keep your job with benefits until you are making 4 times your current salary. The reason for this is the cost of insurance, as well as the taxes you will be paying, and other costs involved with being self-employed. It might sound discouraging but it is the only real way of making the switch without suffering the expense shock later. I wish you all the best, but check into all the expenses before you make the move.
All the Best
Marty
drosenbe0813
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Long Island, NY
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Thanks for all of the responses, especially the specific dollar amounts. That gives a good basis to form my plan for going full time.
Aside from paying both sides of social security, what other 'hidden' expenses are there for full timers?

Thanks in advance
RobertBloor
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The Socialist Republic of the USA.
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Definitely look at the various plans.
I currently use Blue Cross Blue Shield of NM.

They have a variety of options available.
In my situation I have it set up so that my copays are a bit higher, but I won't have hospital bills for decades in the event of a catastrophy.

Just be sure you read ALL the fine print.
Evaluate your needs based on...

Pre-existing conditions

Pregnancy (pre ex, or not) as some companies only cover certain areas of the pregnancy. (or not at all)

Etc etc.

It's never 'cheap' but you'll thank God you did when the, "it'll never happen to me" actually happens.

Robert Bloor
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
-The Declaration of Independence
Jim Snack
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Regarding other "hidden expenses" (from Volume One of Success in Magic):

Here’s a partial list of expenses you will incur in the magic business:

· Advertising: The cost of yellow pages or other advertising.
· Automobile Expense: The cost of driving to and from engagements. Keep a log in your car and record your business mileage.
· Bank Service Charges: The cost of maintaining a separate business bank account.
· Conferences & Seminars: The cost of going to magic conventions for professional development.
· Dues & Subscriptions: Magic club dues and magazine subscriptions.
· Equipment Rental: You might rent an illusion or two for special shows.
· Gifts: The cost of thank you gifts sent to clients.
· Insurance: Business liability insurance.
· Laundry & Cleaning: Do you dry clean your tuxedo after shows?
· Office Equipment: Computer, fax machine, etc.
· Office Supplies: Paper, letterhead, etc.
· Postage & Delivery: The cost of sending out promotional materials.
· Printing: Brochures and other promotional materials
· Professional Development: Cost of dance classes, seminars, books, etc.
· Professional Fees: Accounting, professional theatrical help such as costume designers, photographer, etc.
· Rent: Do you rent office or rehearsal space?
· Technical Supplies: Throw out coils, mouth coils, etc.
· Telephone & Internet: The cost of a separate business telephone line and internet service.
· Travel & Entertainment: Overnight travel to shows, entertaining clients. This one is tricky; consult your accountant.

Welcome to the world of running your own business!
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
drosenbe0813
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WOW...thanks...i didn't realize how close to full time I already am. I have most of the above expenses already. That gives me more great input into the business plan. Whose book (Success in Magic)are you referring to?

David
Jim Snack
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David,

That's my book. Here's the link:

http://www.success-in-magic.com

Take a look.
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
Brent Allan
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Chicago
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My full time job IS that of an insurance broker, and I specialize in Life and Health Insurance. (However, I am licensed in Illinois, so I cannot help you directly, David.

Although people gave you dollar amounts as examples, you cannot look at those as estimates. Why? Because not only do insurance costs vary from state to state, but also the variety of companies and plans make for a huge range in price.

A family of 5 with Major Medical Insurance and a high deductible may pay $400 a month, whereas if that same family has a low deductible plan that also covers maternity and has prescription discounts and an office copay may pay over $1000 a month.

Jim Snack was right in mentioning that you can often get a policy through membership in a council or chamber of commerce. However, be sure to do your homework. Many of these organizations have a policy they can offer, but it is not a very good one, and may not fit your needs. They just have this policy so they can advertise it as one of the benefits of membership.

If you have any other questions, feel free to PM me.
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Jim Snack
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Brent is right about the varying quality in plans offered through membership organizations. I had to do some pretty extensive research before settling on the League of Arts policy over others.

Of course, my research was conducted several years ago. Given that the health insurance industry is experiencing rapid change, one thing that worries me is whether it still is the best policy for my family.
I just don't have the time to research it again now.

Working with a licensed broker seems like a good idea! Thanks for the reminder.
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
mghia
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Kymystical
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I have not checked in a while but there used to be groups offering health insurance for small business people. They were membership groups and the rates and extras were better than blue cross.

I am playing a risky game but I just never went with health insurance AT ALL. I just put some money aside since at my age, the odds are in my favor. But that is the chance I take and wil be signing up sooner than later so I'd be interested in current plans out their and what you eventually come up with.
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