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Hey all.

I've been kicking around the idea of openning up an art studio and becoming a full time artist in my own right.  While there are a few snags that I can work out through research (like how to file taxes, insuring your merchandise, how to pay employees, etc) there's one thing I can't figure out on my own.

So full time artists and fursuit builders, what do you do for your health insurance? 

I have a monthly perscription that I can afford without having to purchase insurance, but I -do- however, have to go to the doctor once a year to renew it, and that would be a huge expense I probably couldn't afford.  Then if I got sick, I would take a hit in lab fees, hospitalization, ambulance rides, etc.

Thanks for your input.  And if this is the wrong journal, please just point me to the right one and I'll post there instead.

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Comments

( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
commodoremarie
Nov. 3rd, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
This sounds like it would be more appropriate in fulltimefurs to me.
leahtaur
Nov. 3rd, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC)
Yes -- actually, I feel this is appropriate in both places. But posting it to fulltimefurs in addition to here might prove helpful, OP.

I'm Canadian so I can't offer any advice. :P
(no subject) - candychic125 - Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
nekomata
Nov. 3rd, 2010 09:57 pm (UTC)
I've always gotten individual insurance through Anthem when I've not had a job that paid benefits. It can be harsh, depending on your deductible.
candychic125
Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC)
Aha, thank you. I will look into it
findmealone
Nov. 3rd, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)
I'm from the UK, but I would strongly advise you to over estimate all of your expenses, add more then take a few steps back and take a look at your incomings before you open a studio. It's a LOT more costly than you think, most artists do one or more jobs on top for this reason - I do part time work, run a small business and am an illustrator but still live at home with my folks!
findmealone
Nov. 3rd, 2010 10:22 pm (UTC)
But, saying that, do looooads of research on insurance. I had trouble with my dental insurance only covering certain things - then turning around and pointing to some well-hidden clause to avoid another. Research research research! *teeth fall out* :(
(no subject) - bladespark - Nov. 3rd, 2010 10:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rusti_knight - Nov. 4th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - candychic125 - Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - candychic125 - Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kadaria - Nov. 4th, 2010 01:05 am (UTC) - Expand
leahtaur
Nov. 3rd, 2010 10:27 pm (UTC)
I have to agree with findmealone that officially opening up a full studio may not be the wisest choice. Actually, to clarify: what do you mean by studio? A brick and mortar location? A numbered or named company? Or just a website?

If it's anything that's going to cost more than a few bucks, I think you need to plan our what your income as an artist has been so far. What's the most you've made a month doing commissions or sales? And what's the least? These are questions you need to ask yourself before jumping in headfirst.
candychic125
Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:13 pm (UTC)
When I say "studio" I really mean a website where I can finally wrangle together everything that I offer into one concise space where people can order from. I already have all the equipment, etc, in my home. I didn't plan on purchasing a separate space for it.

And thanks, but don't worry about me going in head first or anything. I'm still in my research phase, which is why these sorts of questions are starting to bubble up
puppetmaker40
Nov. 3rd, 2010 10:30 pm (UTC)
You might do some looking around and see if you can find a local collective of small business owners in your area that have a health insurance carrier that they all use.

I have a friend who is a metal smith who is also an epileptic and has been his entire life. He found a local business group that he joined and gets his health insurance through them which costs him a lot less than if he had to go out on his own and be self insured.
candychic125
Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:14 pm (UTC)
Great idea, thank you!
(Deleted comment)
candychic125
Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:14 pm (UTC)
Mmm well it's a starting point! :D Thanks
nambroth
Nov. 3rd, 2010 10:32 pm (UTC)
This is a very hard thing to do. If possible I'd recommend a secondary, stable income source such as a part time job. Other than that I wish you the best! I've never had less free time than now that I am self-employed. ;)

That said I wish I had a good answer re: health insurance. I regret that I found every option available to me in my home state to be so prohibitively expensive that the cost per month would have been twice my gross monthly income (IF I was having a good month! Sales fluctuate wildly). Due to this I was uninsured for quite a while and basically just prayed that I didn't get sick or injured. Sadly but quite frankly right now and in the past there is a reason why so many millions of Americans are uninsured. There are often no affordable options if you don't have a 'normal' job with benefits.

That said-- please don't take this as a "don't try" type of message. DO try! There may be options available to you that I didn't have, and while it is not in effect yet we have the hopes of healthcare reform. There may be someone that can help you at your local department of labor as they may have information on programs designed to help people like you get healthcare coverage.

Here are some links that are great food for thought, though they don't have anything to do with health insurance:
http://gapingvoid.com/books/
http://gapingvoid.com/2004/03/25/the-sex-cash-theory/
http://www.allfreelancework.com/articlef1017rates.php


Best wishes!
candychic125
Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:15 pm (UTC)
Ahaha! Thank you, this is very helpful
(Deleted comment)
thornwolf
Nov. 3rd, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC)
I THINK starting soon under Obamacare you can't be discriminated against for preexisting conditions.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - stormslegacy - Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stormslegacy - Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thornwolf - Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stormslegacy - Nov. 4th, 2010 02:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thornwolf - Nov. 4th, 2010 02:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stormslegacy - Nov. 4th, 2010 03:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kriscynical - Nov. 4th, 2010 03:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stormslegacy - Nov. 4th, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kayla_la - Nov. 4th, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kriscynical - Nov. 4th, 2010 02:56 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - candychic125 - Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
thornwolf
Nov. 3rd, 2010 10:41 pm (UTC)
I've considered joining the graphic artists guild simply for the group health benefits. I'd take a gander at their website for more info:

http://www.graphicartistsguild.org/join/
candychic125
Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! This looks useful
protocollie
Nov. 4th, 2010 11:39 am (UTC)
There's a company called Free For All (http://www.freeforallinc.com/) that will provide you free prescription drug coverage. If you just print out their card, you're covered. They basically negotiate down the non-insured prices to insurance levels and tack $5 onto the cost as profit. Pretty decent deal if you want to pay less for health coverage overall.
candychic125
Nov. 4th, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
Oh ho! Thank you, I will look into this
ursulav
Nov. 4th, 2010 02:48 pm (UTC)
I pay a little over $200 a month for bare bones medical. It's not great, and it doesn't cover prescriptions, but they took me despite some pre-existing conditions (which is why they don't cover prescriptions.) I wound up calling an insurance broker--basically somebody who could plug in fifty different insurances and say "Okay, I can get it for you from X for the least amount."

Had it for a few years, haven't had to seriously test it--just basic check-ups and whatnot--and so far so good.

If you're thinking of going to art full-time, my advice from somebody who's done it--twice!--is this is a terrible economy to do it in. That doesn't mean that you can't make it work--if you can do it now, you can do it anywhere!--but I'd wait until you're actively losing money by going to a day job. At the very least, take a couple of months and make sure that each and every month, your income from art is sufficient to pay all the bills, preferably with some left over, before you ditch a regular job.

Don't assume that just because you can focus on it full-time, you will start making more money at it automatically--that only works if you're currently turning down commissions because you don't have time. Selling art for a living requires a whole lot of other people to make it work, and sadly, quitting your day job does not make more buyers appear.

If you're not selling art via website yet, then definitely do that before you decide to go full-time--that's really the only way to gauge demand and see whether you can make a go of it full-time yet.
candychic125
Nov. 4th, 2010 10:51 pm (UTC)
Yeah see now I've hard of insurance brokers, but I don't know where/how to find them
zrcalo
Nov. 4th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
This is coming from a person who hasnt been to the doctor since 1992...

personally? mexico. mexico mexico mexico. (unless you live too far, then.. canada!)

it was going to cost me $2000 to fix one of my molars, went down to mexico and it was only $65. and they did a better job.

then again, with everything else I just self-medicate.

speaking of art full-time... I'm doing it right now. but you WILL have instances where a $1000 commission will either back out or want a full-refund. you HAVE to think about this before you go into it. Currently I'm thinking about moving into an artist commune. it's $400 a month including utilities and a store to sell your stuff in. I would advise to look for a good artist commune.
candychic125
Nov. 4th, 2010 10:50 pm (UTC)
Cool idea. I've heard of writer's communes, but didn't think that there may be some for artists, too. Tyvm
( 40 comments — Leave a comment )

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