Before starting Decent, I spent six months working as a self-employed freelancer. I did paid growth projects from a hot desk at a coworking space in San Francisco, and got to know the other freelancers there — gifted developers, creatives, and business professionals with the courage and skill to bet on themselves. And I learned what every working freelancer already knows: this profession is exhilarating, but it’s not easy. It’s often lonely. The work is feast or famine. And the lack of affordable health insurance hurts.
My family of four was paying more for health insurance than for anything else in our budget — including rent in the Bay Area. It felt wrong, and it is.
Health insurance premiums and out of pocket costs are at an all-time high, and misaligned incentives keep them rising. Nearly half of Americans who buy their own insurance don’t get subsidies. Many self-employed people are paying for short term or catastrophic plans that don’t cover serious illness, or not buying insurance at all and putting their lives and families at risk.
I am lucky to be part of an amazing team working to solve this problem. 90% of us have been self-employed and felt these pains, and all of us have worked jobs we didn’t love, at least in part to keep access to health benefits.
More than 1 in 3 Americans are freelancing today. As a profession, freelancing is growing far faster than traditional employment, particularly among the young, high earning, and politically active. Most freelancers say no amount of money would get them to take a traditional job.
But striking out on your own is harder than it should be, because until recently employers have had a functional monopoly on affordable health insurance. Large groups get better rates than small groups, and historically freelancers couldn’t band together to get large group insurance rates. But that just changed.
Decent will leverage new regulations to administer affordable comprehensive health plans for self-employed people — including freelancers, sole proprietors, and independent contractors (1099s). Regulations won’t let us serve everyone right away, though we expect to do so eventually. We’re starting this year in Austin Texas, and will initially serve self-employed people doing knowledge-based work in specific business, creative, health, and technical fields. Take a look and see if you or someone you know is eligible:
BUSINESS: Accountant, Business Analyst, Consultant, Data Analyst, Financial Analyst, Insurance Agent or Broker, Lawyer, Market Researcher, Marketer, Real Estate Agent or Broker
CREATIVE: Actor, Architect, Artist, Designer, Illustrator, Musician, Photographer, Videographer, Translator, Writer
HEALTH: Licensed Healthcare Professional
TECHNICAL: Data Scientist, Developer, IT Professional, QA Tester, Scientist
If you or a self-employed person you know is eligible, you can learn more on our website.
If you have questions, including when we will be able to serve you, email us at [email protected].
If you work for yourself, Decent wants to work for you.
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