How Do I Get Healthcare as an Independent Mechanic?

How Do I Get Healthcare as an Independent Mechanic main image

When it comes to auto technician jobs, most people only know about the ones offered by dealerships and repair shops. Usually, these are full- or part-time positions where you are paid an hourly wage and often some form of commission. However, there is also a third option where a mechanic may go into business for themselves. Working independently like this certainly has a number of benefits. For one, you’re basically in complete control of when you work, for how long, for whom and what kind of work you’ll focus on.

There are also some unique challenges, though. One in particular that you will need to address the moment you decide to work automotive technician jobs as an independent mechanic is how you will secure health insurance.

Securing health insurance through an employer

This is probably the best option to pursue, but it’s also a very difficult one when you are an independent contractor. Many of you may work for dealerships or auto body shops with the difference being that you help out when they’ve become overwhelmed with work or need someone with your unique skill set.

Whatever the case, you can try seeing if they’ll augment your auto mechanic salary by including benefits. You’ll make less overall, but you’ll have access to health insurance like any of their other employees would.

The reason why this one has such a slender chance of working is because, first of all, an employer is only going to go for this if they believe they’ll need you a lot that year. Otherwise, it’s simply not worth the money on their end. Furthermore, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has very strict rules about how many full-time and part-time employees a company can have before they absolutely must provide insurance coverage, which makes it all the more difficult for a business to justify bringing on extra help.

Secondly, you’ll most likely only have luck with this approach if you proposition an employer with whom you have a lot of experience so they know you’re going to be worth it. For those of you just getting started, this probably won’t be an option any time soon.

Lastly, if part of the reason you love working independently is because of autonomy, understand that you’ll be giving some of this up by getting your health insurance coverage through an employer.

Going through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Since 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been effective, enacted with the goal of making it easier for every American to find health insurance coverage at a reasonable price.

Using the provisions set forth in this law will most likely be the way you end up getting health insurance as an independent mechanic. Again, though, there are some important elements you need to know about.

First of all, if you have been working for yourself for a while now, you can’t just sign up. You’ll need to wait until November. There is a window that lasts until the end of January to sign up. Otherwise, if you’ve recently become an independent mechanic because you were laid off, you have 30 days to get coverage.

If you’ve just graduated from auto mechanic school or are otherwise unsure of how much you’re going to make working on your own, this is something you’ll want to spend some time figuring out. You don’t need to be 100% accurate, but your coverage will largely be based on how much you’re expected to make. Estimate too low and you’ll have to pay the government back at the end of the year.

Although you probably already know this, it’s worth bringing up just in case: not having healthcare is no longer an option. If you don’t secure coverage one way or another, you will have to pay a fine on top of your normal taxes. You can also expect to pay more if you ever find yourself needing medical attention.

Enough mechanics prefer to work independently that it clearly has its advantages. At the same time, it’s not without some hoops to jump through as well. Perhaps the best example of this is the need to find health insurance for you and your family. While it’s worth trying to strike a deal with one of your employers, you’ll most likely need to go through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which can take time if you’re new to it, so definitely get started early.

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