The agile workforce is on the rise, and freelancers, independent contractors, gig workers, and self-employed professionals that participate benefit like never before from increased flexibility and opportunities associated with this way of working. However, going independent is not without its challenges. While going independent has great rewards, it also presents challenges. While there is increased freedom to work when, where, how, and for who they want, there are gaps in the amount of stability and financial security that many freelancers experience.
CareerGig recently conducted a survey of 700 individuals engaging in freelance work, with the goal of better understanding the existing state of the stability and security they experience from having insurance and related coverage. What we found highlights some important areas of need for the independent worker community, and opportunities to lessen the benefits gap for freelancers.
There are three primary areas where gaps were identified:
- Affordability: the primary reason freelancers don’t have better access to benefits and insurance is the ability to purchase it at a reasonable price (66%). This is often due to the fact that freelancers cannot participate in group buying plans that full-time employees are part of, and going direct to insurance providers is cost prohibitive.
- Education: Over 23% of respondents said they were unsure of the coverage that they need. Independent workers often lack resources for financial education that are provided to full-time employees, and freelancers often juggle many responsibilities, making it difficult to gain enough knowledge to understand where their insurance coverage gaps may fall.
- Access: Many freelancers (32.8% according to our respondents) get coverage through a spouse or partner, or even an employer if they freelance part-time on top of a full-time job. The rest, however, must rely either on government programs for health insurance, or going directly to providers for other types of coverage. There are many types of insurance that are difficult for freelancers to obtain with pre-existing conditions, or unreasonable premiums.
In fact, only 4% of participants claimed they were satisfied with their current coverage, and did not need more coverage.
CareerGig offers several solutions to the challenges outlined in this report. This includes:
- Financial education from licensed benefits counselors that can assist freelancers in all 50 states within the United States
- Guaranteed issue health, life, and disability insurance for qualifying freelancers, as well as access to other insurance products created specifically for independent workers
- Financial support in the form of contributions towards insurance premiums that can save hundreds of dollars or more per year in fees.
Our freelancer-first ecosystem and community provides all of the above in addition to peer-to-peer networking opportunities and the type of environment that allows freelancers to learn, grow, and sustain successful independent careers.
Along with the greater independence and opportunity to earn that comes with freelancing and independent work, comes greater friction when it comes to acquiring the best and most appropriate benefits coverage. The difference between having the right benefits or not can make a significant impact in a freelancers’ ability to support their short and long-term goals.
There is a clear need to address the freelancer benefits gap. With CareerGig, we have solutions to several of the key challenges facing freelancers today. With such a vital part of the future workforce at risk, it is critical that these individuals have the education, support, and stability they need to help us grow the future economy.
Note: The data in this report was generated by a sample size of 700 participants with a 4% margin of error and 95% confidence level. 56% of respondents reported that freelancing is their households’ primary source of income, and 62% reported working at least 15 hours per week as a freelancer. The survey was conducted in January 2021.