The rise of gig economy workers is surging the need for better healthcare
The gig economy refers to an independent market system where organizations hire independent workers on a contract basis or for short-term commitments. There are a growing number of factors giving rise to gig workers, including remote work via digital platforms, the need for a flexible work environment, and better paydays, among others. Recent years have seen a substantial surge in the number of gig workers. According to the ADP Research Institute, the share of gig workers in 2019 was 16 percent, marking a 15 percent increase since 2010. This working model is being used by several companies such as Uber, Airbnb, TaskRabbit and Postmates that use freelance workers and short-term contractors to supplement full-time staff.
Now as the gig economy is witnessing rapid growth, the access to better healthcare is also growing. Healthcare is the most crucial need for every people. For gig workers, this is very imperative because of the uncertainty of when the next assignment will arrive or when they will receive their next check. The growing trend of gig economy workers also creates a large pool of adults who are not making much more than minimum wage. And this results in severe concerns when it comes to healthcare.
In a recent Intuit study, 34 percent of the current workforce are gig economy workers, and it is expected that 40 percent of American workers will be independent by 2020. Furthermore, it has been speculated that this worker pool will grow even faster by new tax laws. Recent studies also show that freelancers are anticipated to become the workforce majority by 2027 based on the current growth rate, with nearly 50 percent of Millennial workers already part of the gig economy.
When it comes to healthcare expenses, it typically involves direct and indirect costs. While direct costs are an out-of-pocket expenditure that a patient incurs when interacting with a healthcare system apart, the indirect costs include the opportunity costs of labor and the price of mental and emotional trauma. Indirect costs are often higher and can have serious consequences for gig economy workers when compared to those of urban salaried professionals.
According to the report, independent contractors are double as likely as employees that reported they do not have health insurance. Average health insurance premiums for individuals are US$321 a month, and family premiums are US$833 a month. Moreover, the average individual deductible is US$4,358, and the average family deductible is US$7,983. For many freelancers and independent workers, traditional insurance plans are out of reach. At the same time, they may find that their monthly income makes it impossible to get any type of subsidy or government assistance to cover the cost of healthcare.
However, in an effort to provide healthcare financial relief to individuals, a Christian health share program enables like-minded individuals of faith to share the cost of medical care among each other. Buying short-term health insurance plans can provide more benefits to the gig economy.