Promise of Benefit Reform for Freelancers

The Library of CongressFor those who decide to leave the corporate employment world and set off on their own entrepreneurial goals as a freelance worker, the only thing holding them back is the fact that they will not obtain valuable benefits, such as medical and dental insurance. 

Sure, the new health reform is working on fixing the issue, yet many breadwinners are still not being compensated for other necessities needed to keep a family safe and well cared for — such as disability insurance or life insurance. However, this will hopefully all change with the Freelancers Union announcement of the National Benefits Platform.

This online system allows self-employed citizens to go online and search by zip code for certain benefits like a 401k plan, dental insurance, life insurance, and liability insurance. By November, freelancers in all 50 states will have access to the platform and will be able to qualify for some type of health insurance.

For freelancers, this is a giant leap forward when it comes to compensation and coverage. There are approximately 6,800 urgent care clinics in the U.S. alone, so there’s a pretty good chance that they will be able find an urgent care center near them with the help of this new platform.

“There’s nothing out there like this,” said Sara Horowitz, founder and executive director of the Freelancers Union. “For too long, independents had to go it alone. Our national benefits network changes that — using the collective power of this growing workforce to get curated health, retirement, and other benefits.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual report on the freelance economy, freelance businesses reported around $990 billion in total revenue, a 4.1% increase from 2010. An estimated 20-33% of the American workforce consists of independent workers who perform jobs such as article and content writing, graphic design, and HTML coding.

Groups who promote freelancers, such as the ride-sharing service Lyft and the American Federation of Teachers, are prime example of businesses keeping their workforces available to the talent marketplace. A good freelance worker is just as valuable as a full-time talented employee, but if they are bogged down by having to deal with personal economic issues and lack of insurance, they will not produce their best work.

The new platform seeks to curb this growing concern. The Freelancers Union expects around 25,000 active participants when the National Benefits Platform launches. Depending on what benefits are offered and how affordable they are will determine how many users they obtain — and evidently how successful the program will be.

Many critics of how Americans receive benefits have asked for years why such a large group of workers, who pay taxes like everyone else, lack the basic benefits and safety nets given to hired employees? Hopefully, the Freelancers Union will attract national government attention when launching this platform in order to help freelancers gain more benefits in years to come.

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