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Freelancers Union’s Entrepreneurial Health Insurance Model

With layoffs on Wall Street and the corporate sector putting health insurance front and center in the national debate, NYSHealth joined a group of leading philanthropies and businesses—along with the Freelancers Union — to pioneer an entrepreneurial model for providing health insurance to independent workers. The Foundation contributed to a pool of $16 million to launch Freelancers Insurance Company, Inc. (FIC), which offers affordable and flexible health insurance plans for eligible independent workers.

As a freestanding insurance company, FIC enables members to select from five customized health insurance plans approved by the New York State Department of Insurance. Unique from commercial insurance carriers, FIC’s core concept is to cross-subsidize the plans—if one plan fails to earn a profit, it will not be routinely dropped. Instead, the proceeds from another of the program’s plans will make up the shortfall. FIC offerings are currently limited to eligible independent workers in the New York metropolitan area. However, Freelancers Union offers health insurance to independent workers in 30 additional states through Golden Rule, and dental insurance in all 50 states through The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. Freelancers Union is identifying additional states in which it may launch the FIC model.