By this point, many of us are aware of the clear benefits the Affordable Care Act offers us. Health insurance plans that many of us can actually afford every month, no more annual or lifetime limits on what a health insurance policy will pay, no more denials in coverage for preexisting conditions, and the list goes on. But there are a lot of benefits that we don’t automatically consider; the benefits that aren’t covered in the news or written into the law itself. The benefit that I’m referring to is the freedom of employment!

For years (okay, more like decades), people were trapped in their unsatisfying jobs out of fear of losing their health insurance. If they quit their job, they would lose the benefit of having their employer pay part of their premium. Even worse, if they had a health condition, they risked being denied coverage for a new plan. The Affordable Care Act aims to combat both of these issues- premiums are likely to be affordable, especially if you’re eligible for a subsidy, and insurance companies can no longer deny someone coverage because of a preexisting health condition.

How does this help those who are only hanging on to their jobs for the insurance? Now they can quit! And what do they do once they quit? Well, they can do anything they want!

Health Insurance Between Jobs

It wasn’t until I started working in the health insurance industry that I realized how many people this law helps, specifically in this context. The most recent example I can share is the story of my best friend. She has been working for a company for a few years, but the job she’s doing is not what she went to school to do, not what she sees herself doing for the rest of her life, and quite frankly, her heart just isn’t in it anymore.

A few weeks ago, we were talking about her hunt for a new job, and she expressed how time-consuming it is just to apply for just one job, and how she wishes she could just quit her job so she could dedicate all of her time pursuing a new one. She seemed to be in a position to do just that, so I asked why she doesn’t. Her answer? “Because then I would lose my health insurance.”

I don’t remember my exact initial reaction, but I know that I was shocked (because apparently I just expect everyone in my life to have the enthusiasm toward health insurance that I do..). I explained to her that if she quit her job and lost her coverage, that would trigger a special enrollment period for her, allowing her to enroll in a Marketplace plan. This would tide her over until she found a new job with health insurance. She was pleasantly surprised and gracious that this option exists for her. For now, though, she’s keeping her job because she fears unemployment… but at least when the time comes to quit, she won’t fear a lack of health coverage.

Self-Employed Health Insurance

The opportunity to peruse the Health Insurance Marketplace isn’t just available for someone who wants health coverage until they find a new job, but for other dream seekers as well.

The need for health insurance when you’re self-employed is another scenario that has presented itself in my life. My mother, a crocheter of yarn masterpieces, has long been selling her products online. However, this is just something she does in her spare time, because she also works full-time. Her ultimate dream is to one day quit her job and sell her crochet items as her source of income. There’s no doubt in my mind that she would dominate that career endeavor, but like many others who are, or dream of becoming self-employed, she has concerns about health insurance.

I explained to her the options available thanks to the Affordable Care Act, and now she knows that self-employed health insurance is definitely an option for her. There would be no fear of getting denied coverage because of her health history or because she’s old (sorry mom…), and she knows that there are plenty of resources available to help her get enrolled in a plan.

The benefits of Obamacare and employment opportunities span far and wide beyond looking for a new job or wanting to be self-employed. You may want to quit your job to go back to school, leave your job behind to travel, or focus on starting a career as a musician or artist. Whatever the case, follow your dreams, because health insurance will no longer stand in your way.