• Health, Insurance

Freelancers Insurance Company one year later

It’s almost a full year since we launched FIC, the social-purpose insurance company that serves our members in New York. Out there, on the open market, things are as difficult as ever for the independent worker. The system still favors employer-based groups over the individual, with prices often starting at $750 a month or more for coverage. And yet independent workers make up 30% of the workforce in the United States. But rather than be discouraged by the system, we’ve always favored taking action. After years of arm-wrestling with giant insurance companies to get group rates for our members, we created Freelancers Insurance Company (FIC) with the goal of meeting independent workers’ needs. Whereas the big guys routinely cut the kinds of comprehensive plans our members counted on, we are now able to make decisions for ourselves—with sustainability, not profitability—as our priority. In the past year, we’ve unfortunately seen profit-driven practices eliminate some of the other options freelancers have counted on by costing other organizations some of the plans they offered their members. As we approach our second year, we’re still able to offer a range of five plans. In preparing for the second year of FIC, we listened to our members. We held focus groups, conducted surveys, and interviewed members to learn what was most important in a health insurance plan. Rising costs in the health industry mean every insurer must make changes and tough decisions, but FIC used your input as its guide to tailor plans that are of value to you. Though premiums go up every year, this year our plans also feature some enhancements, including increasing our wellness and preventive care offerings for many plans. We have also continued our advocacy efforts, which recently lead to the passage of a new bill that ensures New York’s freelancers have access to group-rate health insurance now and for years to come. It is another step in providing you with the choices you count on and in modeling the new social safety net for all workers.

Sara Horowitz As the founder of Freelancers Union, Sara has been a voice for freelancers for over two decades.