Health Insurance Solutions for the Gig Economy Era

Individual and Family

Health Insurance Solutions for the Gig Economy Era

Published on July 13, 2018


According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, between 2005 and 2015, the amount of independent contractors, freelancers, and non-traditional workers grew by 66%.
With the excitement around a culture focused on having a brand as individuals rather than working under a company’s brand, we can’t forget what’s getting lost in this transition.

What do you lose as a gig economy worker or self-employed individual?

Through much debate, and countless court cases, the consensus is that gig economy workers are independent contractors rather than employees.
Whether this is a misclassification or not, an issue has arisen with this growing group of individuals working in the gig economy: how do you get the benefit most people receive from an employer?
Although we can’t change how companies who operate in the gig economy classify their workers, we are able to lead individuals to health insurance options. Whether you call yourself self-employed, a gig economy worker, an independent contractor, or a 1099 “employee”, there are still coverage options for you.

What benefits do you lose by working in the gig economy?

There’s a lot of appeal to being self-employed, or working a gig job such a driving, delivering food, or walking dogs. You decide when your day starts, you can take breaks whenever you want, and if you’re short on cash, you can work a little longer if you want. But with all this flexibility and independence comes some sacrifice. Some benefits you might be missing include:

  • Health insurance
  • Sick and vacation days
  • Social security
  • Life insurance
  • Retirement fund matching

Although not all companies offer all of these benefits, you can count on health insurance and certain tax breaks from working for a large employer.
So how are all of these new individuals to the world of gig economy jobs going to get health insurance?

How to get health insurance as a gig economy worker

Times have changed, and the individual mandate has been repealed. In other words: no more penalty for not having Obamacare health insurance.
Although many people could take this to mean that they shouldn’t buy health insurance at all, you might not want to count yourself among them. Having at least some type of minimal coverage in case of medical emergencies could end up saving you from financial ruin. Even if you choose a plan that doesn’t offer preventative services like doctor’s visits, protecting yourself financially against huge medical bills is probably worth a small payment every month.
eHealth has plenty of affordable health insurance alternatives to choose from that can cover you while still

Affordable “gig economy health insurance”

Gig economy health insurance, self-employed health insurance, or whatever you choose to call it, doesn’t have to be expensive. You can look at individual plans on eHealth to see major medical plan options for those who don’t receive employer-sponsored health benefits. If you’re confused about the process as a whole, you can view our Health Insurance for Entrepreneurs guide, which will take you step-by-step through the process of purchasing a health insurance plan.
Although these insurance products are not specifically designed as “gig economy health insurance plans”, you might find that they work great for your situation.
If typical major medical plans with preventative benefits, and traditional payments are too much for you, or not what you’re looking for, you might also want to look into:

  • Short term health insurance
  • Medical insurance packages
  • Critical illness insurance
  • Medical indemnity insurance
  • Prescription Discount Cards

To learn more about these alternative affordable health insurance products, read up on them here.
Keep in mind that these alternatives generally do not provide the same benefits or coverage of major medical or Obamacare plans, so they often do not provide the minimum essential benefits under the ACA or coverage of pre-existing medical conditions.  They may have exclusions based on medical history, and they are not eligible for government subsidies.  However, they also typically have lower monthly premiums than more comprehensive plans.

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