The freelance and gig economy movement is rapidly growing year after year. Although the gig economy may offer its workforce benefits in terms of flexibility and job variety, it doesn’t come without its disadvantages. Below, we will discuss why healthcare benefits and coverage is important for freelancers workers and what insurance providers can do to insure this segment of the workforce.

The Freelancer Movement And Its Insurance Pitfalls

According to the Freelancer Union, approximately 47% of the American workforce which accounts for more than 57 million Americans are part of the freelancer and gig economy movement. While the gig economy has certainly offered its workers, especially Millennials, great opportunities in terms of flexibility and work-life balance it does not come without its insurance pitfalls.

Freelance workers have fled the traditional work environment and in doing so, the insurance benefits that a corporate environment provides. With a lack of a group benefit scheme in place, many individuals working as freelance workers are finding it difficult to insure themselves and get adequate health care coverage. Gig workers often are unsure where their next ‘gig’ role will come from and due to this, live with a degree of financial instability. This is one of the most notable reasons as to why individuals in this area of the workforce choose to go uninsured. With the rates of monthly healthcare premiums on the rise, America could be about to see one of the most underinsured generations in terms of healthcare benefits. However, this is a necessity that they can’t afford to ignore.

What Health Coverage Is Offered To The Gig Economy?

Until the end of 2018, the Affordable Care Act made it mandatory for every citizen of the United States to have health insurance in place. While this did see an influx of individuals becoming insured during the first initial years of the Act, it was still a cause for financial concern among gig workers. With the Act now no longer mandatory from the beginning of 2019, it is possible that it will become a lot harder for insurance providers to provide health benefits coverage to freelance workers.

At the moment, those working contract or temporary based roles for various companies are not given any health benefits or coverage. These individuals will need to take it upon themselves to ensure that they have adequate health cover in place. With many are choosing to stay uninsured and the current prices of health care services in the United States this puts these individuals at high financial risk.

Health Insurance Providers: Supporting An Outdated Style Of Worker

Many health insurance providers in America are still supporting an outdated style of worker. With many insurers used to providing a health insurance plan through a company benefits program, it is important for insurance providers to consider how they will tackle the growing sector of the workforce that are lacking in healthcare benefits and coverage. For years, it was normal for those working in the labour to receive employer-sponsored healthcare benefits. Insurance companies from all over the United States have worked with corporate organizations to provide health care plans to individuals through a corporate benefits scheme. However, this style of worker is becoming fast becoming outdated and the way in which healthcare plans are provided will need to be adapted.

Without innovations and solutions that will help to protect gig workers, insurance companies are risking the possibility of allowing these people to become uninsured unnecessarily. A shift in the health care space is happening and insurers will need to keep up.

Offering On-Demand Healthcare Benefits: Solutions For Insurers

The idea of those working permanently in an organization as being classified only as a qualified worker is no longer adequate and should be changed to reflect the current labour force in America. With growing numbers of freelance photographers, contractors, dog walkers and shift workers in the market, insurance companies need to create solutions to protect this part of the workforce.

Gig workers do not have the same level of security in terms of benefits as employees working in an organization and have to deal with facts such as no financial cover for sick days and the requirement to be working on-demand in order to get paid wages. With these factors to deal with, many individuals often don’t feel that they have the time to shop around for adequate and affordable health care plans. That is why insurance companies need to act immediately.

Group Plan Add-In Option

Insurance providers should explore the possibility of allowing contract workers of organizations to be added to the corporate health benefits scheme even if only for a short while. Many companies insurance plans are not extended to individuals who are working for them as contractors or freelancers. However, by providing an opt-in option to the group benefit scheme this can ensure that these individuals will have health coverage for the length of employment at that particular organization. For those freelancers who may have multiple clients, consider giving them portability by providing them with individual products. This will give them the ability to move between clients without having to be added in and out of group option schemes.

Work Scheduled Health Coverage

On-demand workers should be provided with on-demand healthcare benefits. As an insurer, you will need to provide healthcare packages that will be attractive to this kind of worker. This could be achieved through a work scheduled health coverage plan. This kind of option would be very beneficial especially if a freelancer’s working schedule is changing on a regular basis. While there are currently “self-employed” health insurance plans on the market, this doesn’t suit or apply to every type of gig worker. Yet, by offering individuals in this segment of the workforce more control over their plan and coverage based on their working schedule, this will ensure that they will be able to avail of a range of healthcare benefits.

JAUNTIN’: Protecting The Health Of Gig Workers

JAUNTIN’ understands the need for gig workers in the United States to be given the opportunity to avail of the same healthcare benefits that corporate employees are provided. By offering products that give gig workers and freelancers more control over their health plans, it is possible for insurance providers to keep this area of the workforce protected. We partner with insurers to help them bridge the gap of underinsured by offering a product platform that is accessible, easy-to-use and on-demand. Our aim is to keep the gig workers of America healthy and protected and fill in the insurance gaps experienced in the gig economy.