Posts Tagged ‘health insurance’

SPJ Solutions Offers Insurance Benefits to Members

As a long-time freelancer, one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is acquiring the kind of benefits that come along with a day job — life insurance, health insurance, sick time, vacation time, etc. For things like sick time and vacation time, I have built those estimated expenses into my hourly rate. That system doesn’t work for insurance benefits though.

Because my background is finance, specifically benefits programs, I know where to look and how to evaluate carriers, coverages and premiums. A lot of freelancers don’t have that experience, or don’t want to learn. They want to write! Other freelancers don’t know where to begin to look for benefits. Do you find a local agent, Google “find insurance in Cleveland,” or ask friends for referrals? There are lots of ways to find insurance coverage, but SPJ has simplified all of that for you through SPJ Solutions.

Earlier this fall, SPJ partnered with WestPoint Financial Group in Indianapolis to provide SPJ members with access to a variety of benefit programs including life insurance, health insurance, disability coverage, long-term care, liability insurance, errors & omissions coverage and more. Forgive the cliche, but this new program, called SPJ Solutions, is one-stop shopping for insurance benefits and financial services. WestPoint Financial has agreed to work with SPJ and its members to offer a wide range of products and services in all 50 states.

For more information on the program’s benefits, contact SPJ Solutions at WestPoint Financial. You’ll receive a response within two business days. You’ll be put in a touch with an advisor who will help you identify what product(s) you need and provide you with options and quotes. One contact. One call.

SPJ Solutions @ WestPoint Financial
Email:  spjsolutions AT

The only requirement is that you are an SPJ member. Not a member yet or need to renew your membership? You can join or renew online now for only $75/year.  This is just one more way SPJ supports its members, so you can focus on doing the things you’d rather be doing — writing, editing, reporting, teaching!

Director of Membership Linda Hall at SPJ HQ is also available to help you with any questions about SPJ Solutions. You can reach Linda at 317.927.8000, ext. 203 or via email.  I helped HQ put this program together, so I am available to answer your questions as well. Call me at 360.920.1737 or contact me via email.

Virtually Yourz,

Dana Neuts, Freelance Journalist
SPJ Secretary/Treasurer
2013 Candidate for President-Elect




Employee Benefits for Freelancers

The one thing I miss the most about the corporate life is a great employee benefit package provided by a generous employer:  health insurance, life insurance, sick days, vacation time, a retirement plan and more. As a freelancer, however, traditional employee benefits aren’t handed to us on a silver platter. Sure, we get to choose our own work wardrobe, have an incredibly short “commute” downstairs or down the hall and enjoy setting our own schedules, but that doesn’t pay the bills when we need to go to the doctor. Fortunately, freelancers have options for all of these benefits and more.

Health insurance:  When I started freelancing, I couldn’t afford health insurance, but I qualified – for a time – under my state’s health plan so I could get coverage for myself and my daughter until I was no longer eligible. When I earned enough to write full-time, I went online to get quotes for individual medical coverage. I went to, put in some basic info. and, in minutes, received about a dozen health care plan options. I opted for a plan with some first dollar basic benefits (the first six medical visits per year were covered, for example) as well as catastrophic coverage. In addition to this option, some professional associations like SPJ and the Freelancers Union offer group discounts to their members.

Life insurance: Life insurance can also be purchased fairly easily online at sites like Another option is to find a local agent who represents a single company (e.g., New York Life, MetLife) or multiple companies. Originally, I purchased life insurance on As my family’s needs changed, however, I chose to work with my Edward Jones investment rep who was able to offer quotes from several companies.

Retirement plan:  There are a variety of retirement planning options available to freelancers including individual retirement accounts (IRAs) – traditional & Roth; solo 401(k) plans; SEP plans; and more. Because retirement planning can be complex, it is best to work with a qualified advisor. I chose to work with a local Edward Jones rep who reviewed my financial situation, time line and goals and was able to create a SEP plan tailored to my needs and to fund that SEP with investments that were appropriate for my risk tolerance and financial goals.

Sick days:  I don’t know about you, but when I’m not working, I’m not getting paid…but that doesn’t mean I have to work 24/7. I plan my schedule around my assignments, sometimes working longer days than others and taking time off when my work load is lighter. There are other options, however. In terms of sick days, I try to stay ahead of the schedule in terms of assignments. That way I am planning for the inevitable – getting sick, caring for a sick child or parent, or dealing with unavoidable work delays. With a little cushion built in, I can take the occasional sick day when I need to.

Vacation time:   Freelance expert Michelle Goodman (“My So Called Freelance Life”) builds time off when calculating her current minimum hourly rate. She accounts for benefits and time off, so she is only working as much as she wants to reach her financial and lifestyle goals.

For more employee benefits advice, stay tuned for freelancer Paula Pant’s upcoming blog post on The Independent Journalist.

Dana Neuts is a full-time freelance writer, editor and marketing professional in the Seattle area. She is the owner/publisher of two hyperlocal community blogs, and, and she serves as the chair of SPJ’s freelance committee. For more information about Neuts, visit her website Virtually Yourz.


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