Uber Drivers Health Insurance
Within the United States, many transportation-industry employees have access to workplace Health Insurance — including truck drivers, limousine chauffeurs and taxi operators.
However, rideshare drivers are different — they are considered ‘independent contractors’ — not eligible for added benefits through parent companies (including access to health insurance).
If you’re a rideshare driver, and you’re not currently covered by a health care plan — no need to worry — you can access your own individual plan from a range of options.
So — how do you choose a plan that works for you?
Affordable Care Act & 1099 Workers
If you are an independent contractor, such as an Uber or Lyft driver in the United States, you are considered a 1099 Worker. Since 2014, the US healthcare system changed substantially due to ‘Obamacare’ — ultimately resulting in the new Affordable Care Act.
This overhaul focused on providing affordable health insurance, and healthcare, to all individuals in the United States.
ACA and Rideshare Drivers
The ACA (Affordable Care Act) covers a large majority of individuals eligible for subsidy or tax credit.
For instance, if you’re an American citizen who makes up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL), you may automatically qualify for ACA coverage. In 2014, for instance, the FPL for a household of one was $45,960 — or $94,200 for a household of two. Depending on your income, health insurance could cost as little as $20 to $25/month.
Where and When Do I Enroll?
For starters, the monthly premiums will vary depending on the insurance company you approach. Just like car or house insurance, it’s important to shop around. Also, always be aware of terms and conditions in the fine print of any healthcare agreement.
Regardless of whether you choose to purchase your insurance through a broker; healthcare.gov; or directly from the insurer, the monthly premium is legally required to be identical.
Once you choose the insurance company you’d like to do business with, compare notes — and make sure they are offering fare rates.
Open vs. Special Enrollment
In terms of when, you have a couple of options — ‘open’ or ‘special’ enrollment.
- Open enrollment simply means the time period where insurers offer insurance plans to individuals interested in purchasing them. For instance, in order to obtain coverage for 2017, open enrollment could possibly open in November 2016 and run until February 2107.
- If you miss the open enrollment window, you may need to look into the possibility of a special enrollment. This is a 60-day period individuals are given after qualifying for a ‘special’ circumstance, such as starting a new job.
To find out your options and discuss plans in detail, reach out to a variety of insurance companies, including Blue Cross and Humana.
- Contact Blue Cross (Phone Number: 888-630-2583)
- Contact Humana (Phone Number: 1-800-833-6917)
- Contact United Healthcare (State-by-State Website Contact)
Be sure to write down the key details within each plan, as well as the offered premium. It doesn’t hurt to compare, so take your time — this is an important decision.
What Plan Should I Get?
Before you begin looking into available plans, it’s important to understand what’s being offered. The two primary types of insurance plans include:
- Health Maintenance Organization (HMOs) — These plans give you access to certain hospitals and doctors within a network. These plans are more restrictive, making them a cheaper, yet less flexible option.
- Preferred Provider Organization (PPOs) — In comparison, PPOs provide increased flexibility and fewer restrictions. Although you will pay more, you will have more choices in terms of which doctors you see and the coverage you receive.
You also need to be aware of ‘levels’ in terms of expenses covered. While choosing a health plan, there are: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum options. Once again, this refers to the level of coverage — although insurers may differ, on average, this is a general rule-of-thumb to how each level works:
- Bronze covers 60% of costs
- Silver covers 70% of costs
- Gold covers 80% of costs
- Platinum covers 90% of costs.
Regardless of the plan you choose, it’s important to have some kind of health coverage.
No one ever plans for accidents — and unfortunately — even minor medical problems can cost you thousands of dollars in medical fees.
As a rideshare driver (and an independent contractor), it’s not worth taking the risk of going without coverage. A medical emergency can wipe out months or years of revenue from your ridesharing business.
If you do not already have insurance, make sure to protect yourself and your income — invest in a health plan that fits your needs today.
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