What Does Obamacare Mean For Photographers?

What Does Obamacare Mean For Photographers?

Today registration opens around the country for the new Affordable Healthcare Plans (a.k.a. Obamacare) which will take effect on January 1, 2014. People on both sides of the fence are fired up and expressing their support or disgust for the plans. It got me thinking though: What does this mean for self-employed photographers?

I voted for Romney in the last election. I have not been the biggest supporter of Obama and the choices he has made so far. However I have got to say I am quite interested in what the new health insurance plan means for our industry. Let me explain.

Self-employed photographers finally have a way of purchasing a reasonable health insurance plan.

I have been working for myself for the last 3 years. I have 5 kids under the age of 12. My wife works for herself as well. We have managed to get by over the last year without any health insurance at all. Fortunately for us, our family has been healthy. I hate to admit this openly. But if one of us were to need health care, we don't have a plan. I think about this often. One broken bone, one sick child, one surgery, one hospital visit, any of these things could end up costing us a fortune. According to a recent study medical bills are the biggest cause of bankruptcies. Being uninsured is not the way to live as it causes a lot stress, praying everyone in the family stays healthy. (I hope my mother doesn't read this as she always asks about whether or not we have health insurance and I have just fibbed telling her we did as to not stress her out as well.)

What Does Obamacare Mean to Photographers 2 Bankruptcy

Every couple of weeks I wonder if it would be better for me to have a full-time job with health benefits rather than work as a wedding photographer. But I just can't do it. I feel like it is my calling to photograph weddings and create photos that couples can cherish throughout their life. So while I have yearned for some kind of health insurance protection, my wife and I have just continued rolling the dice hoping we all stay healthy as a family.

Even with pre-existing conditions you still qualify for health insurance.

I didn't think much about this before. After all, my wife, kids and I have been healthy. But in one discussion inside a Facebook group of photographers one person spoke up. She explained that in her early 20's she was diagnosed with cancer. She fought the battle and won but as a result she has found it extremely difficult to find any insurer that will cover her. With the new Obamacare she can finally get the health insurance she desires and not have to worry about being disqualified because of her past condition. I was truly excited for her. It opened my eyes that there are a lot of people out there in her same shoes. These people are now going to be able to get the prescription medications and doctor checkups they need without having to pay out of pocket to cover all the costs.

More people will be able to follow their dream to become a photographer.

One of the biggest hurdles for people interested in becoming photographers is that as much as they would love to do it they just couldn't see how it was possible. Insurance was too expensive. Their child had a pre-existing condition. It was a risky choice for them to make and so more often than not they just stayed in their 9 to 5 job and did a little photography on the weekend. I have a feeling in 2014 we are now going to start seeing many of these people leave their "9 to 5" and find a more fulfilling life as they actually are able to do something they love.

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Is Obamacare perfect? Absolutely not. Am I looking forward to paying an estimated $7,000 a year for my family to get the insurance or be penalized? Nope, not at all. In fact, when my wife and I first talked it over about a month ago we were fired up. We were angry that we were being forced into something we didn't want. But as we educated ourselves more and more about what this meant to us as a family we started realizing this was not such a bad thing after all for us. I have a feeling that on January 1, 2014 a lot of stress of worrying about my family needing health care will finally be lifted from my shoulders. Will we need to use it? I hope not. But it is there to assist us in case of an emergency.

You hear about outrageous hospital bills all the time. In fact, I bet if you asked around you probably have a friend that has received one for $50,000+ and hopefully they had insurance to cover it. My feeling is that as a family we might go years and stay healthy never needing a doctor visit. But when that one time happens. When one of us gets sick, cancer, Parkinsons, heart disease, I am grateful to know that we will be able to get the help we need without having to worry about breaking the bank or reaching our hands out desperately to family members to help.

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When we buy a new car, before we drive the car off the lot we have to show them proof of insurance. Same thing goes when we get pulled over by a cop. It is required by law to have it. When we buy a house they often bill the cost of insurance right into our mortgage because the lenders want to make sure we are insured. Insurance is all of us pitching in a little bit today so that the person who needs the help tomorrow can find it.

I realize that Obamacare is not perfect. In fact far from perfect. But I do believe that for us self-employed photographers it does give us certain benefits that were once not available. I thought that was definitely worth mentioning. If you would like to find out more information about it you can visit this link, Healthcare.gov. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Please keep it civil and keep party lines out of it. While the new Affordable Health Care plan is not perfect, it is here, it is happening. What are some of the additional benefits we can get out of it as self-employed photographers? What are some of the disadvantageous? Chime in below.

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239 Comments

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Jon Sharman's picture

I thought you might be! ;)

Jerrit Pruyn's picture

Show me one place the government handles money well?

Jon Sharman's picture

You're kidding right? There are a lot of negative things to say about the government, but the bottom line is that they are the largest employer in the world, they bring in the most income in the world, and they have the largest outcome in the world. It's a massive, massive job.

But, to answer your question - the CDC, state and local health departments, the Interstate Highway System, the FDIC, Social Security (which despite the ridicule has cut the rate of poverty in elderly people by from 29% to 10% in 40 years), the GI Bill, the Federal Housing Authority, the CPSC, Clean Water + Clean Air programs, OSHA, NWS, student financial aid programs. I could go on.

They fail in a lot of ways, but they have a thankless job and have improved the quality of life and length of life dramatically.

Jerrit Pruyn's picture

I don't consider being in the red doing things well or efficient. Yes I am thankful for the jobs they make but the private sector would make them as well.

Jon Sharman's picture

What does any of those programs I mentioned have to do with being in the red, other than arguably Social Security - which isn't in the red yet, but is projected to be if something doesn't change in the next 20 years.

Zach Sutton's picture

A national debt is good for the economy. It shows that the people you have loaned money from has faith in your currency and future. We've always had a national debt...and we've been going pretty steady for 300+ years now.

Trevor Dayley's picture

Jerrit - as an answer to your question, "Show me one place the government handles money well?" It's hard to see the answers to this unless you go spend quite a bit of time in another country and learn about what the people there are going through. Having lived for a few years in third world countries I am quite thankful that we have a government not nearly as corrupt as many of the ones I have experienced. I have an older friend who served as a senator in one of these countries for a number of years. Hearing his stories was enlightening. It opened my eyes that I while our government will never be perfect (Republican or Democrat) we have a lot to be thankful for. I can't tell you exactly where our government handles the money well, simply because I am not educated enough to do that, but I do believe that often times we need to take off our political party glasses and start seeing things without the biases that so often form the opinions we have.

Nico's picture

The funding works out here in Germany, too. We also have a mandatory health insurance and it works. Of course Germany is not as big and does not have as many citizens, but in fact this happens to be a good thing, as a large base of people paying in stabilizes the whole system.

Zach Sutton's picture

I got warm and fuzzy inside when reading this. Too many people are ill-informed on the topic and are just angry because of hearsay. This pushes the important part of Obamacare into the spotlight...which is the pre existing conditions. That will help middle class Americans and self employed people more than any of the recent stimulus plans.
(Not interested in having a debate about it. I have studied finance for years, have worked with tax law and have formed my opinion based on my own experiences.)

Jon Sharman's picture

You're absolutely right. Sections of the media/GOP have done a fantastic job of labeling it as a negative thing, but the reality is that this is the only humane option. The healthcare system as it stands now is disgusting - profits before people, and it can't go on.

♆ Scott ♆'s picture

Really? You believe that this is not about profits? It's about the government taking their own piece of the medical action. It's never about the people. If it was Americans would have a voice, a choice and be able to vote on things just like this that effect us all.

Jon Sharman's picture

Yes, because Americans are clearly so well educated in all the nuances of Governmental policy.

♆ Scott ♆'s picture

Most Americans are ignorant and aren't even smart enough to stand together to get these crooks out of office.

Jon Sharman's picture

Yeah, that was my point Scott - that's why the idea of Americans voting on every piece of legislature is scary.

Andrew Sible's picture

Every time I think about this sort of think I want to move to Canada, or Australia.
Thankfully getting a passport is not affected by the recent shutdown of government, we can still leave!

.

Randy Curtis jr's picture

well what are you going to do about it..?

David Ewers's picture

you are right, so how are we going to get rid of the idiots like bachman

RUSS T.'s picture

this is OBAMACARE, so far?
13,000 pages I heard, so far?
The fact that it's being pushed on us in an " OR ELSE" fashion, pisses me off.

As for what both sides are saying, I wouldn't believe a word of what anyone is saying about it.

BOTH SIDES ALWAYS LIE and keep everyone angry at " THE OTHER SIDE" Simply put, BOTH democrats and republicans, blame the other guy, for the problems. NOT ONE of them has the balls to stand up and talk truth simply and effectively.
the simple fact is, IF YOU DONT ABIDE BY THIS LAW, YOURE GONNA BE PUNISHED! (and there is 13,000 pages of how they can SCREW YOU OVER and say you aren't abiding by their law)
Here's a pic of the pages;

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BFGcd8oCUAEEc7k.jpg:large

David Ewers's picture

This is not socialized medecine. Never has been never will be. That is a falacy put out by bachman and gohmert. Amazing I bet you are pro life and think the government has the right to say that women do not have that right. But you are against the idea of the government telling people to get health insurance.

♆ Scott ♆'s picture

It's puppets like you that cause these types of governmental issues. The government just keeps taking away our right time and time again and ignorant puppets like you defend them. FORCING Americans to get "their" profitable insurance and if they don't they get fined is a dictatorship. You obviously haven't been on the website looking at prices and penalties. I'm pro gun and pro choice. That avi of yours is accurate. You're just a dog being lead around on a leash.

David Ewers's picture

Scott, I am not going to be so conned and believe you lost everything except your truck in the sandy. You Spew the same old BS that every tea bagger throws out. I have looked at the rates and found out they are much lower than I expected.

Your whole statement does not make any sense at all, are you saying ht we were not paying a profitable insurance industry before the ACA?

Amazing you are against the ACA because it allows the government to ask you to be responsible for your life and your healthcare. But if I do not have health insurance I have to go to the government run emergency room or go to a profit making private hospital. But when it comes to the rights of women you feel the government has the right to say what kind of healthcare they get. You are a hypocrite.

Funny you complain about liberals and then come to one of the most liberal of states of the union, that is completely run by democrats.

As far as my avatar, you are correct, I am just a lovable dog who loves to be admired by other people

DeathNTexas's picture

John Schnatter of Papa Johns pizza complained during the last election cycle that health insurance for full time employees would raise the cost of each pizza by $0.12. My thought was, "Is that all? Why aren't you doing it already? If profits are too tight for you to pay for it, raise the price by a quarter and throw in dental, as well." The truth is, as much talk as there is about regulation and the private sector, generally laws are only written to take care of problems created when the private sector fails. If employers were taking care of their employees (maybe they're not able), this wouldn't even be an issue.

James Jenkins's picture

Your comment sounds nice, but it's founded in emotion and not a shred of logic. You clearly have no business experience or any understanding of margins, or else you wouldn't say something so ignorant.

DeathNTexas's picture

When his statement came out, there was plenty of analysis (although I am very familiar with margins, P&L, etc.). The expense increase would equal 0.4%-0.7%. That falls within a margin of error on P&L (simply because pizza is a hand built commodity with variation and because suppliers' charges will vary over time). However, if that expense is too great, increase the margin by a $0.25 price phased in price jump, problem solved.

Furthermore, studies have shown that greater benefits do increase your employee loyalty, thus decrease turn over rates (training and uniforming new employees is a huge expense with high turnover). To top it off, you make it public that you are doing this, and it becomes a publicity coup d'etat.

I admit that I feel strongly about this, but I am also a businessman. The problem as I see it, is that numbers don't tell the whole story of a business as long as people are involved. Sometimes you have to invest in your people for the sake of your business. Sometimes you do it simply because it is the right thing to do.

David Ewers's picture

Explain it to me, I own three different forms of business, a computer
store, own real estate and property management and do stock photography.
Benefits like wages are part of the costs of doing business, just like rent and maintenance. Every expense can be absorbed by the business and cut down the profits, charged to the customer, or a combination of both.

In
the past most large companies gave health insurance to their employees
as a benefit. But as insurance premiums began to rise, employers either
asked to have their employees share the expense or cut health insurance
completely and increased their profits. AT the same time these same
companies allowed their employees wages to stagnate and many Americans
with the high costs could not afford health care.

The GOP wants
to go back to Free Market solutions, which means to go back to the way
it was before with insurance premiums that are way too high. That has
been their only solution.

So calling someone ignorant about this is just showing your own. The gentleman from Texas was completely correct.

Funny the health insurance companies all of sudden now have cheaper rates for people who want to enter the system.

And the so called 14 cents costs were horribly wrong, it actually came to bout thee cents per pizza. And many of the stores/franchisees will not qualify to be under the ACA since they do not have the 50 employees. 94^ of all the businesses in the US will not have to be in the ACA

Mr Blah's picture

Your comment sounds nice, but it's founded in cold profit and not a shred of human compassion or empathy. You clearly have no human experience or any understanding of equality among humans, or else you wouldn't say something so ignorant.

lord trini's picture

But he sited verified quotations and then made an extrapolation. All you was insult him.

DeathNTexas's picture

I have lived in countries with full on socialized medicine, and I have to say, it was fantastic. Sure there were horror stories (just like there are here), but overall it was a good system to live with. No one went bankrupt from medical bills, no one put off life saving treatment, and if you don't have to worry about keeping your health insurance or going bankrupt if you get sick, it is much easier to take entrepreneurial risks.

Tristan Cook's picture

I'm not super set against it, what upsets me is that it's being shoved down our throats. If we don't want it we should be able to opt out and not have to pay some huge penalty.

Jon Sharman's picture

I get what you're saying, but it defeats the purpose. The plan needs a large number of people contributing to it for it to afford the money that will go back out for claims.

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