There’s been no hospital in the wild for the self-employed, entrepreneurial, or “hustler” who has turned to contracts and gigs in a depressed economy, as the myth of “full-time” jobs are slowly disappearing. TIME magazine declared that 2012 would be the year of the entrepreneur and with one in three U.S. workers who account for the independent workforce, looks like TIME nailed it right on the head.
The necessity of self-employment is daunting but vital for survival these days. In place of hired help companies have turned to interns who exchange their labor for college credit, or the contractor who swoops in per assignment doing the lease damage as companies avoid the high costs of health insurance, 401k’s and other benefits now considered “luxuries” in this current work culture.
Co-working spaces, coffee shops, websites like Guru.com and SkillShare.com, provide access like never before for the independent worker to be successful, but the most challenging part of living life off-the-grid is access to quality (and affordable) health care.
The Freelancers Union’s Freelancers Insurance Company opened the first state-of-the-art primary care practice for New York’s independent workers last week in Brooklyn, New York.
The practice offers co-pay-free primary care and a focus on wellness and prevention with programs like yoga, nutrition and mental health services. The doctor (whom patients can email, text or send pictures to) is paid by the person … not the code.
“Freelancers told us they wanted a next-generation model of care. We know we’ll see reduction in medical cost that will make up for the amount of money we’re spending,” said Sara Horowitz, founder and executive director of Freelancers Union and CEO of the social-purpose Freelancers Insurance Company to Fast Company. “We view this as the first step, as we co-design this with our members.”
The Freelancers Insurance Company is slowly conquering one city at a time to address the needs of 42 million people working in non-full-time positions. Portland, Oregon may be next on the radar. But for now, looks like the Brooklyn doctors office is a strong prototype for dictating the health services needs of the changing workforce.