A trucking career is a dangerous profession, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. All owner-operators need healthcare coverage. However, many drivers do not have any or adequate coverage for their specific needs. Some trucking companies offer healthcare coverage for their employees. However, being an owner-operator, these insurance benefits are not always offered by the leasing company to self-employed people.
Being in the trucking industry and carrying healthcare coverage and accident insurance is essential. Since owner-operators spend long hours on the road, they often suffer from fatigue, lack of adequate sleep schedules, sleep apnea, or decreased mental awareness. Sleep deprivation is common in truckers and causes more accidents on the road.
Healthcare Coverage Options
Health Savings Account (HSA)
A standard healthcare insurance option for those who have a good bill of health but prefer a little more control over their benefits is the Health Savings Account. The HSA is an account like a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). If you are looking for a lower deductible, this is not the right option. When opting for the HSA, you will pay less monthly for your coverage, so having a higher deductible may balance out. The money you add to your Health Savings Account cannot be taxed by the government, as well as any interest accrued.
When using health insurance coverage for prescription medications, surgery, or a doctor’s visit, the money in your savings account will help cover the costs. Opting for the HSA enables you to save your hard-earned money and add interest to it for medical expenses when needed.
You may be asking yourself if Obamacare is even available anymore. The answer is yes, Obamacare is still available. When searching in your state for healthcare coverage, visit Healthcare.gov. However, there are strict enrolling deadlines, so if you have missed this deadline, it may be hard to enroll unless you are currently pregnant, lost your previous healthcare coverage, or meet the requirements for low-income healthcare coverage. If you do not meet those requirements, you will have to wait for the next enrollment to apply and receive healthcare coverage in the Marketplace.
If you have missed the open enrollment, you can browse other healthcare plans and coverages in your area with the health insurance plans and prices tool. Using this tool, you can get a ballpark idea of what your insurance policy and price would be. The enrollment period typically begins in November before the year you need coverage.
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)
OOIDA stands up for professional truck driver’s rights. OOIDA owns and operates over 240,000 small trucking fleets and heavy-duty trucks. There are over 150,000 Americans and Canadians who are members of the OOIDA. There is a small yearly fee to become a member. Becoming a member provides you with benefits, including healthcare. The Medical Benefits Groups within OOIDA include healthcare coverage and life benefits for not only you but your family as well. These benefits are specifically designed to meet your unique needs.
OOIDA offers wide-ranging and affordable healthcare benefits as well as always exploring new products to make available to its members. By doing so, this gives its members the best protection plans possible. Typically, other healthcare coverage plans have higher deductibles to save on the premium or have a lower deductible with an increased premium.
Medical Benefits Offered by OOIDA
- Advantage Schedules Medical Benefit Plans
- Free Prescription Pharmacy Cards
- Accidental and Dismemberment Plans
- Voluntary Group Short-Term Disability Plans
- Occupational Accident Plans
- Group Dental Benefit Plans
- Voluntary Vision Care Plans
- Group Life insurance
OOIDA offers a newer plan called “My Community Care.” This plan is not an insurance plan but a membership package that provides medical treatment for accidents, preventive, wellness, vaccinations, chiropractors, and many other services. The plan is provided to not only commercial drivers but also their family members. Becoming a member of the “My Community Program” gives the driver and their family many medical services such as:
- BioScrip Discount RX Cards
- 24-hour Nurse/Doctor Hotline Access
- Discounts on Dental Plans
- Diagnostic Imaging and Lab Tests
- Discounts on Chiropractic and Physical Therapy Services
- Diabetic Care Supplies
- Identify Theft Management Services
- Preferred Vision Care Discount Plans
Currently, 1,300 healthcare centers are partaking in this program. It is an exceptional program for owner-operators or company drivers who do not have healthcare coverage.
The NRA and Insurance
The National Rifle Association (NRA) offers access to healthcare coverage for its members. The NRA Healthcare Marketplace provides validated healthcare; however, it may not be similar to full healthcare insurance. Like OOIDA, the NRA offers many plans such as prescription discount cards, Medicare supplements, long-term care insurance, and help with hospital care. Having this form of coverage could help to fill in the gap from other healthcare coverage.
Issues Getting Healthcare Coverage
As mentioned before, those in the trucking industry suffer from frequent health concerns because of their profession. Pre-existing conditions can cause your premiums to be higher or nearly impossible to pay. By obtaining a group policy, drivers have a better likelihood of receiving affordable care. One thing to remember is that if you have a group policy, your insurance premiums may increase if there is another individual on your plan who has a medical condition or is a high-risk trucker.
Having excellent healthcare coverage for owner-operators at an affordable rate is essential to all truck drivers. When searching for healthcare coverage, do your research on policies and prices before deciding on coverage to save money.