Health Insurance for Gig Economy Drivers

Individual and Family

Health Insurance for Gig Economy Drivers

Published on September 11, 2018

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Instead of working directly for carriers and cab companies, many drivers are now serving customers on their own—and these drivers make up a huge population of both the gig economy and the workforce in general. According to a study done by Benson Strategy Group, Uber had over 160,000 drivers in 2014 and are expected to have 1.5 million by 2017. And this is just one company among many that drivers can provide services through.
Although being a gig economy driver comes with a lot of flexibility, it can also some with some limitations. One of the downsides of being a gig economy driver, is that you’re not considered an “employee”, which likely means you won’t qualify to receive benefits like health insurance. Luckily for those who have to shop for health insurance on their own, eHealth is committed to helping people like app-based drivers get the gig economy health insurance they need at a price they can afford.

What to know about getting health insurance as a gig economy driver

First thing to know about health insurance as a gig economy driver—don’t expect it from the company you’re working for. In the gig economy, most companies do not consider their drivers to be employees (since they provide services on a gig-by-gig basis), which often means that benefits like a health insurance plan is not included.
So if you’re a gig economy driver looking to buy a quality health insurance plan on your own, you’ll likely be shopping in the individual market and noticing that premiums seem unaffordable. Despite this first impression that the individual health insurance market can have on some, don’t be disappointed—there are still ways to find affordable health insurance as a gig economy driver.
Despite limitations, like not having your employer contribute to your premium, or benefitting from lower costs on large group health insurance plans, you still have options for finding health insurance, and we can help you understand them.

How to find affordable health insurance as a gig economy driver

By 2019, the individual mandate fine will no longer apply, meaning you aren’t legally required to be covered with ACA-compliant major medical health insurance (also called qualified health plans). With this policy no longer in place, you have more options for coverage while still not being fined when tax season comes around. Weigh your options of traditional major medical health insurance and alternatives for gig economy health insurance:

  • Qualified Health Plans– The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandated that plans have a certain amount of benefits and couldn’t do certain things like discriminate people based on pre-existing conditions. These plans are probably what you think of as “typical” health insurance, and they’ll usually get you the most amount of coverage. But all these benefits come at a cost—sometimes a hefty one depending on whether or not you qualify for subsidies. If you’re interested in searching for qualified, major medical plans with comprehensive benefits, you can get quotes on eHealth.
  • Short-Term Health Insurance– Designed to cover people for short periods of time, but also available for extensions, these plans are quick and easy to apply for, and sometimes coverage can begin within just one day. For some, these plans are among the most affordable health insurance options. Keep in mind that this affordability and flexibility comes at a cost—short term health insurance will not provide you with the same amount of coverage as a major medical plan, and pre-existing conditions may be taken into account. If you’re only working in the gig economy for a short period of time, or you simply can’t afford a health insurance plan with comprehensive benefits, then short term health insurance might be a good option for you. Start search for plans here.
  • Alternative Health Insurance Options- If you’re a driver working in the gig economy, you’re already familiar with alternative lifestyle options and flexibility—if you want to hear more about alternative health insurance for the gig economy, you can read about coverage options that might fit your specific lifestyle well.

This article may not represent every plan accurately; each plan and insurance company has its own terms and limitations, so be sure to check the official plan documents to understand how that specific plan works.  This article is only for general education.

Why get health insurance as a gig economy driver?

Although it might seem like a hassle to research all the plan types and buy your own health insurance if you’re in the gig economy, you may find that being covered is worth it in the long haul.
Nobody is safe from emergencies and unexpected medical bills. Even buying a plan with very limited coverage might end up protecting you from financial ruin in the case of serious illness or injury, so make sure to consider your options and find quotes on plans in your area.

We’ll let you know when we publish anything new.