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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Zach Sutton's picture

If you spent half the time working on photography as you do trolling the comments here....man...

Jan Ulman's picture

Is someone deleting one person's comments? Or are these all from different people?

Are people just getting angry because a few Fstoppers are disagreeing with the writers that be?

Edit: I just noticed it shows a name.

Jan Ulman's picture

It's one thing to disagree with someone, but squelching their (somewhat free) speech because you don't like it..

I don't like the path Fstoppers is going these days...

Trevor Dayley's picture

Jan sadly quite a few sites are disabling comments altogether on articles because of trolls. Popular Science is one large blog that just followed that route. It's okay to have a civil conversation. But if your comments are full of hate and have no value at all, they don't belong here. Such was the case with the comments that were deleted.

Jan Ulman's picture

That isn't very consolatory, Trevor, there's always a "good reason" when other people's speech is supressed.

Until all the 'good reasons' are revealed to be magnanimous proxies for peoples' own prejudice.

No one will ever care, becauseoppressors will always malign dissidentts as enemys of whatever ideal they hold dear. That is, no one cares, until it starts happening to them.

I hope we don't go down that slope, just because a few people on Fstoppers can be offensive :P.

After all, if you're offended by one person's comments- (who's lightly trolling, at BEST) what does that say about us as adults here?

I mean, we ARE all grown ups here, right?

Andrew Sible's picture

Thank you, that's a good read and I'm only 1/3 of the way down...

sad times. I kinda like the idea of how things used to be before the internet, information wasn't as easy to get, but neither was stupidity.

Brian McCarthy's picture

This is one of the best articles I've read in a long time. Thanks you for writing your own analysis of the Affordable Care Act and for sharing the Popular Science article.

Andrew Sible's picture

I had a reply to this and it didn't show up...I may have made a mistake.

Anyway... there's no real way to be sure what age we are, Jan. lol you're talking to the internet!

Too tired to retype everything I said so let's hope it's just in moderation until it's posted. Odd if it were..

DeathNTexas's picture

Miguel Antonio was trolling. He was being deliberately inflammatory over the last few days in many comment sections. He had nothing to add except old fashioned name calling and provocation for no reason. You missed some good ones. One of the other comment sections ended up being completely disabled because of him (well he played a part in it). Unfortunately, I may have been partially to blame as well because I was feeding him.

Andrew Sible's picture

It's hard not to put idiots in their place, even I know the world is so full of them there is NO hope of remedying it, but still try sometimes.

I've been attempting to stop lately though, less stressful if I ignore the airheads, lol. I've had to gradually exit a few forums and facebook groups because of it...

DeathNTexas's picture

Yeah, the problem is, I have been sick with a stomach bug for about a week, sleeping irregular hours, and not feeling like doing much actual work. So, I have been spending too much time in comment sections.

Andrew Sible's picture

that sucks, feel better. I lost about 10lbs from stomach flu, worst sickness I've ever had.. I don't even want to describe it, lol.

worried's picture

am i the only one concerned that this guy has 5 kids who don't go for yearly check ups because they have no insurance...

Trevor Dayley's picture

We are concerned right there along with you.

Dafydd Owen's picture

Indeed. Maybe having less kids would have been an idea.

Trevor Dayley's picture

We are blessed to have the ones we have. Wouldn't change that for anything.

Dafydd Owen's picture

"Blessed" ?
You do know how babies are made right ?
You have sex without contraception and a baby comes out. It's an act of biology not a "blessing".
I personally believe that the world is over populated and 2 should be enough. Or less if money is an issue which it seems to be here. If I couldn't afford healthcare for my children - I wouldn't have any/not have more.

Trevor Dayley's picture

Yes sir, I think we figured out how kids are made. Saying we are blessed is not me saying that these kids floated down from heaven on the backs of angels. It is me pointing out that we love our kids and feel grateful that they are part of our lives. We wouldn't change a thing.

For some people it is not about having money to afford health insurance. It is that because of a pre existing condition, which can be practically anything, the private insurance companies deem them uninsurable. If they accept a job for a company offering health insurance its no big deal, but no dollar could even buy health insurance if they wanted to run a business on their own.

Chris Janzen's picture

Wow! For BC health care we're paying "Effective January 1, 2013, monthly rates are $66.50 for one person, $120.50 for a family of two and $133.00 for a family of three or more." But that doesn't cover prescriptions or ambulance rides. It does cover doctor visits and surgeries though. I couldn't imagine having to worry about hurting myself and then not being able to pay to get fixed up

Gary Hammell's picture

Okay, I'm Canadian. I'm comfortable middle-class. We have health care that is fantastic. Sure we pay more taxes, but I am not paying huge insurance premiums. I am not being told I can't have medical coverage because I have a medical problem, or charged extra because of it. We are all treated fairly. No favouritism because I have money. No rejection because I don't. My taxes sure, are higher, but not exorbitant. I probably save money in the total package of benefits, over giving the money to insurance companies and its share holders money.

Our economy is doing just fine. Our health plan has been around for over 50 years. Most Canadians very strongly support Medicare. American friends of mine that have moved to Canada think it is wonderful.

Repeating, in the long run, I think I am financially ahead with our Medical system, plus, I have excellent medical service.

Patryk M's picture

You forgot to mention the current wait times in hospitals and ER rooms.
FACT: 1HR 30MIN to 2HR 45MIN.

Gary Hammell's picture

FACT: If you don't have health insurance you can't afford to go to emergency to wait. Now that is a lot longer. ALSO It is always done with triage, so if you are desperate you get help faster.

Gary Hammell's picture

A bit of new info. as of just now.
My daughter has a business on a main street. Her staff witnessed a stabbing today. Her Husband is an emergency Dr. (this is how I know.) The victim would have been registered before he even got to the hospital. So the message is, if it is severe, you are right in. If you have a cold, you are going to wait.

Mark Alameel's picture

Wait a tiny bit and get care... or get no help?

Which to choose... its so hard to decide.
/sarcasm

Carol M Vallecalle's picture

The current wait time for ER in the USA is same crap if not more. I was just there, I took my little one in. And we waited FOREVER, so don't be fooled Patryk. Other countries have better medical systems than the US. Why? it's debatable, but certainly this is a big step into something better.

William J. Denson III's picture

I lived in Toronto for two years, and it was less expensive for me to get care there than in Houston, and I got it faster and more efficiently.

Also, my Canadian friend, you don't pay more in taxes for health care than Americans do. We, in fact, pay more taxes for health care than you, and we pay for insurance on top of that. So, you're actually WAY better off. The YouTube video speaks to this point.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSjGouBmo0M

David Apeji's picture

In 4 years plus, no one has come up with an alternative, not even the staunchest political opponents. That must say something.

GoDawgs's picture

There has been an alternative offered by the House… HR 2300.

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