“We are building a sustainable social support system for the next generation of American workers,” says Freelancers Insurance Company (FIC) President and CEO Sara Horowitz.
FIC is a model social enterprise (and a B Corp). It is a model not just because it uses a for-profit business to serve those in need, but because it serves at scale.
In today’s economy, more and more people are working for themselves or as part-time employees and contractors. At last estimate in 2005, there were approximately 42 million Americans—or 30 percent of the workforce— working independently. For many, that helps pay the bills and put food on the table, but often it can also mean living without health insurance or paying higher prices for less coverage than most employer-provided plans.
That’s why the nonprofit Freelancers Union, with almost 150,000 members nationwide, created Freelancers Insurance Company. FIC provides portable health insurance solely to Freelancers Union members and places members’ health insurance needs—not quarterly earnings reports— front and center. By aggregating members into one buying pool and underwriting their health insurance, the B Corp gives freelancers access to the benefits of larger plans, previously only available to those working for large employers. FIC provides health insurance at approximately one-third the cost of comparable plans on the individual market. Freelancers Union also offers dental, life and disability insurance; a 401(k) retirement plan; a mental health services directory; and corporate discounts.
With Freelancers Union as the sole owner, FIC can remain 100 percent committed to promoting the economic and physical wellbeing of current members—as well as that of the next generation of independent workers.
“Our members let us know what we’re doing wrong and right,” Horowitz explains. “We’re set up every which way to hear them and to respond. They drive our continuous evolution.”
It was a Union member’s feedback that led to the creation of FIC, and it is member feedback that is shaping the future. In the next year, FIC is exploring new health care delivery models for the ever-growing group of those without access to employer-sponsored insurance. The company is looking to partner with health clinics to serve its members, while helping keep costs down. It is also working to develop smaller networks of doctors to provide affordable services or launch clinics designed exclusively for member needs. Through each of these models, and current services, FIC will bring sustainable, affordable and portable health coverage to generations of independent workers to come.
Learn more about FIC and other B Corps at bcorporation.net/community.
Photo credit: via flickr by Fillmore Photography