The world has become a tech-savvy place over the past 100 years. Constant innovations help make our lives easier. With each new technology developed, people and their cultures begin to evolve. The people of today have a very different mindset when it comes to work, careers, and work-life balance. Rather than finding a job and sticking to it for years in hopes of developing a stable career to last you until you’re 65, we have what we call a gig economy.
In a gig economy1
- Jobs are more flexible, meaning companies tend to hire more contract or part-time workers and those who will only be there for a temporary amount of time.
- There is the opportunity for a cheaper typically more efficient lifestyle. Some of these modern businesses include services like Uber and Airbnb.
- The essence of the economy is entrepreneurial, therefore there are plenty of other people who do freelance work. They work under a contract with the opportunity to provide services for multiple companies at once. This self-employment gives them the freedom to pick and choose their clients.2
The problem then arises when these people who aren’t maintaining full time positions at companies must find benefits, like health insurance, businesses usually provide for their employees. As a part-time worker companies may not be required to provide such things.
If your employer doesn’t offer insurance for work outside of a full-time job, there are a few options. There is always the option to see if you qualify for marketplace health care by filling out an application. When doing this, you must apply during the open enrollment period which usually starts in November. Cobra coverage is another way to obtain insurance as a non-full-time employee. It’s an individual plan making it generally more expensive than the group insurance you would have if you worked at a company. You may also look into professional associations and freelancer unions. Typically, with professional associations, there are enough people banding together to make them eligible for group insurance. The freelancers’ union provides healthcare, but most will also find supplemental health plans on top of that.3
Supplemental health insurance can be especially beneficial to someone who works freelance because the benefits can help cover non-medical costs like lost income, which is not as well-protected as it is for those who work as full-time employees.
Supplemental health insurance helps to cover things beyond just simple health insurance. Some examples of popular policies people will take out for supplementation would be cancer, accidental death, and hospital. Just as any other insurance, the policy must be active during the time you receive a diagnosis.4 Supplemental health insurance can be especially beneficial to someone who works freelance because the benefits can help cover non-medical costs like lost income, which is not as well-protected as it is for those who work as full-time employees.
The times are changing and you shouldn’t let your insurance needs hold you back from participating in the gig economy. Be aware of your options and if the company you are working with will provide you with the option of obtaining insurance through them. For the best understanding of your situation and options, meet with a local licensed insurance agent.