Individual and Family

Short Term Health Insurance for Gig Economy Workers

Updated on February 13, 2020


The gig economy refers to the growing number of people who work as freelancers or on short term contracts. Typically, a company provides a website or app that connects customers and workers. Some typical kinds of gigs could range from delivery drivers to software developers to financial officers for small companies, so the gig economy can include many different sets of skills and income ranges.

The middleman companies usually handle payments; however, they rarely provide such gig economy benefits as health insurance. All sorts of workers may benefit by quickly filling in gaps in coverage with affordable short term health insurance.

How short term health insurance can provide gig economy benefits

Paul Oyer, an economics professor at Stanford, says that contract work isn’t new; however, technology that makes it easier to connect customers with workers has increased demand for B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-customer) customers. The middleman companies that connect customers and workers classify these workers as independent contractors, so they don’t have to offer gig economy benefits.

Workers might buy gig economy benefits on their own. This list highlights some advantage of buying short term health insurance to provide quick and affordable gig economy benefits such as short term health insurance:

  • At eHealth, consumers get almost-immediate coverage from these temporary policies with quick, online applications and approvals within hours or days.
  • Since short term health insurance policies don’t last longer than three months and don’t need to provide every mandated benefit of Obamacare (also known as the Affordable Care Act or ACA), consumers can expect relatively affordable premiums.
  • People who need gig economy benefits can apply for short term health insurance at any time, so there’s no need to wait for the Obamacare Open Enrollment each year.

Short term health insurance vs. Obamacare

These temporary policies only last a maximum of three months. They also usually won’t cover pre-existing conditions, maternity care, and other required features of a major medical insurance plan that qualifies under the Affordable Care Act. In addition, they can’t exempt people from possible ACA tax penalties for going without qualified health insurance.

Many people who need quick gig economy benefits may qualify for a exemption because of financial hardships or changes to their circumstances. Also, taxpayers generally won’t get penalized if they have a gap in qualified coverage of two months or less.

Short term health insurance plans can fill in Obamacare gaps

Even if you enrolled in an Obamacare major medical plan during Open Enrollment, you still typically need to wait for a January start date. Consumers who qualify for a Special Enrollment Period may enroll in Obamacare at other times; however, they will usually need to wait for the first of the next month for their coverage to begin.

Also, many people turn to the gig economy when they need to earn an income between permanent jobs that offer group benefits. Short term health insurance can offer an ideal way to fill in these temporary gaps in coverage too.

Some people simply need a quick way to prove they have insurance for school, certain jobs, or other activities. Of course, people mainly buy health insurance to ensure financial protection and access to healthcare. Anyway, gig workers can turn to temporary coverage that they can drop as soon as they don’t need it.

Short term health insurance offers affordable premiums, too

Income for people who need gig economy benefits can vary considerably, depending upon demand and required skills. Jobs can range from dog walkers and delivery drivers to drone pilots and financial consultants. Still, many people who need fast gig economy benefits may prefer to have very affordable premiums.

A recent eHealth survey found that most consumers who purchased short term health insurance said they made the choice because they found premiums more affordable than other alternatives that they had compared. Some examples include a $110 average premium for individuals and $275 for a family plan.

How eHealth helps provide gig economy benefits

Freelancers, contract workers, and other people employed by the gig economy can turn to eHealth for coverage that’s as flexible and efficient as they are. In addition to providing quick quotes and applications for short term health insurance, consumers can also use eHealth to find Obamacare major medical insurance and even dental or vision plans. Business owners can also research group benefits. When consumers and companies need to compare health insurance, they turn to eHealth.

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