If you work a regular 9-to-5 job, then you probably have group health insurance. But what if that is not the kind of job you have? More Americans than ever are falling into that second category, a scrappy mix of the self-employed, solo entrepreneurs, freelancers and contract workers. More than 57 million Americans, or 36 percent of the workforce, freelance. Among millennials, that number rises to 47 percent. By 2027, if trends continue, the majority of the workforce is expected to be in the gig economy.
At the best of times, healthcare is a tricky thing to figure out. For independent workers, doubly so: Not only does their income fluctuate month-by-month, but the policies and premiums available to them are constantly in motion as well.
“If you are a freelancer facing the pure retail cost of healthcare, then it is horrifying,” says Kathy Hempstead, senior advisor for the Princeton, N.J.-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropic organization devoted solely to healthcare.