They are nearly one-third of the U.S. workforce and they are prime lead targets. Freelancers’ potential as aged health insurance leads in your sales prospecting and cold calling strategy is not to be underestimated.
Gig workers need affordable, quality health insurance coverage, just like all Americans, but their unique employment situation makes things tricky. However, these health insurance leads present a unique business opportunity.
“Freelancer” describes a wide array of Americans. Freelancers include those who work for large corporations on a contract basis, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and digital nomads working in technology and creative fields.
That variety comes with a wide variety of incomes. A new survey from Stride Health found the current costs of health care and health insurance are unaffordable for some freelancers. 35% of these lower-wage independent workers don’t have insurance coverage, compared to 3.6% of country at large. Survey respondents followed up, with 63% naming price as the number one reason they didn’t have coverage. For the next rung up of freelancers who did have coverage, 37% told the survey makers they avoided routine medical care due to high deductibles.
Things aren’t as dire as they could be, however. Freelancers skew younger — about 50% of freelance creatives are under 35 — so they tend to need less medical care than older Americans.
Freelancers do have jobs, even if their income is more irregular and less predictable than standard employment. And many are optimistic about the future. 77% said they were optimistic about the future and opportunities are growing across the board, in some cases doubling in a decade.
What could freelancers do to better set themselves up for affordable health coverage? To start, they could claim appropriate deductions to lower their tax burden. Many don’t. Stabilizing cash flow and growing their business, adding clients, and raising their rates could also help.
This year there was a strong push to get more freelancers covered under Obamacare. The ACA partnered with 17 major freelance networks across the country to get out the word. And results there are promising.
The Stride survey reported 55% of uninsured freelancers are planning to sign up for some form of health insurance coverage for 2017. Not bad. That breaks down to 45% said to be eyeing individual Healthcare.gov Marketplace plans, while 10% are looking elsewhere. A further 31% said they were undecided as of October when the survey was taken.
For agents, freelancers represent a unique opportunity. Agents can target both that 45% interested in ACA plans and the 10% who might consider coverage on the open market.
Many lower-income freelancers will be interested ACA bronze plans that fulfill the minimum essential coverage (MEC) requirement. However, some prospects could be interested in other products. Short-term medical could be an option for some, thanks to their lower premiums, no-penalty cancellation, and benefit offerings.
However you begin your agent relationship with a freelancer prospect, you’ll be sure to want to continue and nurture it. While some freelancers eventually take a salaried position or quit to become a stay-at-home parent, others grow their business significantly in the matter of a few years.
If you sell other types of insurance, particularly business owners policies, liability, and cyber security policies, you may have a good future ahead with freelance clientele. Freelancers also need auto coverage, homeowners policies, and life insurance and financial planning guidance as well.
While freelance work is still somewhat unorthodox, freelance workers represent a growing demographic with a need for expert insurance help and the potential for growing your sales.
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