New Study: Health Care Is Freelancers' Biggest Concern
A just-released research report from Fiverr finds more than 40 percent of freelancers see health insurance as the most pressing issue they’re facing leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, while 41 percent of "side hustle" freelancers say benefits is a key reason why they maintain a full-time job.
The online freelance platform interviewed more than 1,200 freelancers for “The Freelance Political Perspective Report.” Freelancers answered a series of questions on unique challenges they face as well as various political issues that affect them.
Freelancers and non-freelancers agree and disagree on major issues.
According to the report, freelancers share many of the same views as their fellow U.S. citizens who do not freelance. About 34 percent of freelancers said their financial situation is getting worse, while roughly the same percent of the overall adult population feels the same, according to a Harvard-Harris poll from June. About 31 percent of freelancers said their financial situation is getting better, similar to that of their non-freelance peers.
Freelancers and non-freelancers disagree much more than that in other areas, especially healthcare. While more than 40 percent of freelancers say healthcare is their biggest issue, a little less than one in three people among the general population agree. Interestingly, only 34 percent of freelancers said the country is heading in the right direction, while 39 percent of typical adults say it is.
Freelancers also hold some other strong opinions that differ starkly from the general population:
- Freelancers are more likely to show support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (54 percent vs. 44 percent)
- Support for a single-payer healthcare system (59 percent vs. 48 percent)
- Increased funding of healthcare for low-income individuals (75 percent vs. 58 percent)
Freelancers want greater access to “portable benefits.”
Freelancers want to take their benefits wherever they go. Eighty percent of freelancers surveyed say they don’t think the government is doing enough to support flexible working with portable benefits. Eightyfive percent say it’s important to keep benefits without them being tied to a job. Fortyone percent of “side hustle” freelancers say they hang on to traditional jobs just to keep the benefits, rather than move to full-time freelance status.
As the Open Enrollment period for the ACA recently arrived, Fiverr and Postmates partnered on a digital ad campaign to encourage workers to sign-up for healthcare coverage. Both companies want to provide their freelance pool with beneficial resources and assist them in making informed decisions.
The companies also worked with Small Business Majority, a national small business advocacy group, to conduct webinars about healthcare plan options. Postmates is also conducting its own trial health savings account program for workers in partnership with Starship HSA.
Freelancers appear to support more progressive policies.
In general, freelancers expressed a desire to change the tax system more than the general population. They believe the rich should carry a greater portion of the country’s tax burden.
Seventy five percent support reforms to provide tax breaks to individual companies to help keep jobs in the US. Seventy five percent support raising taxes on the rich, and 74 percent support raising the minimum wage. These types of changes could provide freelancers with more financial stability and additional income they can apply to savings or retirement.
Freelancers also expressed broad support for additional protection against sexual harassment, as well as greater access to continued education programs and resources.
If you want to know where the opinions and desires of the average American may be headed, look no further than freelancers. They now number more than 53 million. They’re set to represent 40 percent of the workforce by 2020, according to an Intuit report.
As more people move away from working full-time and go freelance, desires for adequate access to healthcare and a higher minimum wage will only increase.
A fascinating finding of this report is that around 25 percent of freelancers are undecided on which way to vote. That equates to roughly 14 million votes. Smart politicians will look at that and realize the benefits of helping this population. Freelancers want laws that support more flexible working conditions, a more equitable tax system and higher wages. Who’s going to step up and give it to them?