Expanding Health Care Coverage

Grantee Name

Working Today

Funding Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Publication Date

May 2012

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

November 1, 2007–February 28, 2010


An increasing number of American workers are employed in nontraditional arrangements as freelancers, independent contractors, or temporary workers.

These workers do not receive the work benefits customarily offered by employers, including health insurance. Most earn too much to qualify for public programs, but cannot afford the expensive premiums charged in individually purchased plans. With NYHealth’s support, Freelancers Union launched the Freelancers Insurance Company to make affordable health insurance available to New York City’s independent workers and also created a discount network with mental health providers, Freelancers Union Health Partners, in New York City. This initiative has shown that with collaboration, it’s possible for a nonprofit organization to launch an insurance company.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Established the Freelancers Insurance Company and began providing health insurance in January 2009, extending coverage to approximately 8,700 people who did not previously have coverage.
  • Enrolled 23,000 people as of July 2010; some 45% of those are low-income individuals.
  • Established a discount network of mental health providers, Freelancers Union Health Partners, and enhanced access to services for uninsured members.
  • Developed the technology platform for a completely paperless, state-of-the art online system for members, providers, and vendors that includes provider searches, claims processing, and reimbursement.