A note from Sara on the switch to Empire

Dec 3, 2007

Dear Freelancers Union members, Our philosophy is to group freelancers to have greater strength in markets and in this democracy. Freelancers have long been treated as isolated individuals purchasing their safety net—health insurance, retirement—on their own. We’re showing that, as a group, we can do better than if we stayed so isolated. That’s why I am really gratified to say we have been able to move our health insurance plans in New York to Empire BlueCross BlueShield. We have shown that freelancers are responsible, pay on time, and can act together—and now the insurance industry is seeing us as a group. We went through an RFP process to get the best plan possible. For the first time there was real competition among insurance carriers to get our business. We negotiated a new partnership with a much wider network and the best hospitals in the city. This is a more expensive network than HIP’s, but we were able to negotiate plans with real value, with rate increases significantly lower than national and local averages. So as we do a victory lap, I hope the point is clear: We need to stick together. Together we can get affordable health and disability insurance, lower the Unincorporated Business Tax, and soon have retirement plans. In short, we are building the new social safety net—and we’re showing the rest of the country what the future looks like. Next, we need to help the government move from the old, industrial model, which excludes us, to a model for the twenty-first century, which will support the way we work. Freelancers will be the ones to lead the way in updating the tax code, laws, and regulations for the new economy. I’d love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to email me directly. Best, Sara Sara Horowitz is the founder and Executive Director of Freelancers Union.