As the debate grows over whether workers in the gig economy should be classified as independent contractors or employees with benefits, one start-up has become the insurance broker for companies including Uber and Etsy.
Launched in 2013, San Francisco-based Stride Health has secured partnerships with companies including TaskRabbit and Postmates, an on-demand network of couriers. Stride Health so far has raised more than $15 million.
The company essentially is an online insurance broker and helps workers find health coverage. And to be clear, consumers — not the start-ups they work for — foot the bill for coverage if they decide to enroll. Stride Health doesn't charge consumers to use the service. The company makes money by pocketing a commission from insurance company plans, featured on Stride Health's platform.
"We identified a pretty compelling market need in the on-demand economy," said Noah Lang, chief executive and co-founder of Stride Health. "We had independent working Americans gathering on these platforms to build their own self-employed lifestyle, but there was one major gap — benefits."
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, which requires Americans to have health insurance or face penalties, many of those who enroll on Stride Health pocket insurance subsidies to lower their plan costs, Lang said.