We are all drained from talk of COVID-19, but the inevitability of how our economy is forever changed is still prominent in how we live. Mobilizing jobs has become astonishingly popular, if not essential for individuals. American workers naturally desire to have the world accessible at their fingertips; gig work and freelance opens these doors.
What is all the excitement around gig work for?
Gig work mainly involves small jobs such as freelancing, contract work, delivery services and other seasonal positions. These opportunities allow for a rare flexibility that nine to five jobs do not offer. The gig economy gives workers the autonomy to monetize the skills they already attain on their own time and control their wages. Workers can either dive in full time, be more of a casual earner or use their skills as a complete side-hustle. 59 million Americans are working independently either full or part time according to an Upwork Survey.* The gig economy provides Americans with the freedom to be their own boss and select work that they are interested in. So, why doesn’t everybody join this newfound freedom? While the post-pandemic advancement of gig work was convenient at first, the work-health partnership exposed some flaws. No contract employment? No health benefits.
According to Statista, in 2019 only 24% of full-time freelancers in the U.S. had health insurance coverage through a self-purchased plan and 7% had coverage through their parents’ plan, highlighting a major need for easy-to-secure, affordable and reliable coverage.**
A steady fight has arisen in the gig economy; the employee benefits are limited if at all. Many businesses who use gig workers do not classify them as “employees”, therefore, they do not get benefits such as healthcare, maternity leave, holiday, etc.
How to realistically secure healthcare through self-employment
Be honest with yourself. You have made it this far as a gig worker which means you are determined, self-reliant, responsible, and resourceful. Educate yourself. The first step for obtaining a healthcare plan is thorough research. Know the insurance terms, protocols, compare types of coverage, analyze premiums, deductibles, co-insurance and maximum out-of-pocket costs. Ask questions! Have a set amount you can spend. Listed below are a few resources to get you fully prepared to take on this next step of being a gig worker:
The most reliable place start: Policygenius
Although Policygenius does not actually provide the insurance, it connects freelancers to a broker that can professionally guide you to the insurance plan that is best suited for independent workers.
Short-term health insurance
Short-term health provides enough coverage for the essentials while saving money. Premiums are affordable compared to small group coverage. Watch “Short Term Health Insurance” to learn more.
Medical insurance packages
These packages contain specific insurance products and are a great way to cut back costs on a variety of medical products. Watch “Medical Insurance Packages” to learn more.
Health Savings Account (HSA):
If you get a high-deductible health plan, you more than likely qualify for an HSA and can set tax-advantaged money aside for medical costs. This helps gig workers create a high-insurance plan with money dedicated to health care costs.
The Association for Entrepreneurship USA (AFEUSA) has partnered with Hooray Health, an affordable benefit solution that provides nationwide access to healthcare, to provide health insurance to self-employed individuals and those working in the gig economy. The Hooray Health Plan features include a “ZERO” Deductible for Accidents; $25 copay for most sickness at Retail Clinic and Urgent Care Centers in the nationwide Hooray Health Network (labs and x-rays included) with no balance billing, specialty doctor office visits, go anywhere accident benefits, $0 telemedicine, medical concierge consults, an easy-to-use mobile app and more, all for an affordable premium with no deductibles.
The booming gig economy is no doubt here to stay. With the economy being as contemporary as it is, it is essential the people keep up as well.
Wayne Goshkarian is the Director of Communications for Scottsdale-based Association for Entrepreneurship USA where he assists entrepreneurs nationwide with creating, establishing and expanding their businesses.