Staying in good health is an important priority for anyone. But it’s especially important for nannies, who take care of children and families. The nature of a nanny’s job means she’s frequently exposed to germs, as well as physical work and stress.
That’s why having affordable, decent healthcare coverage is important for nannies. Having health insurance makes it easier for nannies take care of acute illnesses like colds or ear infections, receive care for more serious conditions, and stay up to date on preventative care like yearly checkups and screenings.
However, actually obtaining affordable healthcare can be stressful and confusing. Where do you even start? To help you out, we’re sharing a few ways that Boston nannies can find health insurance.
Consider options based on your family
Before you dive into buying an individual health insurance policy, check to see if you can be covered by someone else in your family. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), parents can provide health care coverage for their kids until they turn 26 years old. This coverage is extended to you even if you live on your own, you’re attending school, you’re married, you’re eligible for coverage through your job, or you’re not financially dependent on your parents.
If you’re older than 26 and you’re married, your spouse may be able to add you to their policy if they have one provided by their employer. Being on the same plan with your spouse can make it easier to keep track of things and, in some cases, it may be less costly than purchasing your own plan. You do have to be legally married, however; Massachusetts is not one of the few states left that recognizes common law marriages.
Find a plan with Health Connector
Nannies in many states can shop for health insurance using the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. However, some states have their own individual insurance marketplace. For nannies in Boston, that’s Massachusetts Health Connector. You can enroll at any time of the year under certain conditions, i.e. if you qualify for MassHealth, you’re applying for dental coverage, you’ve gotten married or had a child recently, and more.
Everyone’s needs and situations are different, so if you need help figuring out your qualifications or enrollment options, Health Connector can also help you by phone or in-person at a MassHealth Enrollment Center. There are centers located in Boston, Roxbury, Cambridge, Brighton, and Medford. Keep in mind that open enrollment is available near the end of each year (for 2020 coverage, the dates are November 1, 2019 to January 23, 2020). In some cases, you may qualify for special enrollment, i.e. if you get married, adopt or give birth to a child, now qualify for care, have lost your coverage (due to job loss or divorce), etc. This means you can apply for MassHealth at any time of year.
Look for employers that offer coverage in some form
Luckily, more and more employers are realizing that offering health insurance can benefit them as well as nannies. Affordable health insurance is tough to find and a family that offers coverage can be attractive to a new nanny. Families don’t typically have a backup nanny on staff, so it’s important that their primary child care provider is in good health and can do her job well.
Families who’d like to offer coverage for their nannies have a few options. Employers can contribute towards a nanny’s health insurance policy, which is considered a non-taxable compensation. Sometimes called a health insurance stipend, this is ideal since neither the employer nor the nanny pays taxes on their health insurance premium costs. An employer can either pay the insurance company directly or pay their nanny. If you’re paid a stipend directly, just make sure you save receipts so there is proof that the money was intended (and used) for insurance.
The other employer option is a Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement, or QSEHRA. With a QSEHRA, an employer can contribute up to a certain amount annually to their nanny’s premium tax-free. It’s up to you to provide your employer with receipts for your healthcare expenses so they can reimburse you. Having a QSEHRA can be pretty complex, so check out healthcare.gov’s information on using it, eligibility, and tax credit.
Find a family that fits your needs
With health care coverage options varying by state, employer, and so many other factors, choosing an insurance policy can be challenging. Boston Collegiate Nannies not only covers topics like these for nannies on our blog, but we also support every nanny in our agency with the experience and resources we’ve collected over the years. If you’re looking for more nanny advice, consider joining Boston Collegiate Nannies: it’s free!