In late June, Freelancers Union unveiled a national benefits platform to help independent American workers gain access to affordable insurance for health care, disability, term life, dental, liability, and retirement. Last month, they launched Hives, a social network for freelancers. This week, they announced plans to open 15 primary care health centers across the U.S. in the next five years. These new centers will join the two Freelancers Medical facilities that currently serve independent workers in Brooklyn and Manhattan. All of this are part of an ambitious national expansion to support the 53 million independent workers in the U.S.
Sara Horowitz, Founder and Executive Director of Freelancers Union, noted, “This is about meeting the changing needs of the new workforce, and innovating what’s next. It used to be that, when it came to health insurance, independent workers had two bad options -- navigate the individual market alone and pay exorbitant rates, or roll the dice and go without. That’s why we launched the Portable Benefits Network in 2001, and Freelancers Insurance Company in 2008. But the Affordable Care Act changed all that. Today, the challenge is no longer just finding insurance; it’s also finding the best coordinated care that meets the needs of the nation’s 53 million independent workers.”
Freelancers Medical centers allow freelancers (and their families) access to primary care services including flu shots, blood work, check-ups, cancer screenings, and more. With no co-pay, the centers also enjoy an 86 percent patient satisfaction rating which is substantially higher than the national average. The initial roll-out of new facilities will target Upper Manhattan and Jersey City, eventually expanding into Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, Austin, and San Francisco.
Horowitz elaborated on the value of a nationwide network of Freelancer Medical centers in a note to Shareable, "Our members have shown us that they want care that treats them as a full, 360-degree person. That’s why Freelancers Medical has a full suite of traditional health services as well as free yoga, meditation, and even professional development and networking classes. And that’s why we’re bringing the model to more cities."
Jay Coen Gilbert, cofounder of B Lab, the nonprofit that certifies B Corporations said about the move, "Freelancers is a prime example of what happens when you put your social purpose first. They have always been nimble and innovative, and once again they're pivoting to serve their members' needs."