Healthcare for Helping Hands

by Bob Hughes on September 15, 2016

Bob Hughes · Small Actions · September 15, 2016

Pendulum in Action, small actions, health care expensesMany countries offer government-sponsored healthcare, which allows even the most modestly paid workers to have access to doctors. The United States, of course, has government-mandated healthcare, which means that everyone needs to have healthcare, but most people have to pay for it themselves. And healthcare in the U.S. be shockingly expensive. So despite the threat of fines for not having healthcare, a lot of people do without and hope for the best.

This is especially hard for workers in the new economy, so-called gig workers – those who find work through an online marketplace (think of everything from Uber to delivery to babysitters). Their income might not be steady enough for them to pay for such necessities.

Now one online marketplace, Care.com, which specializes in connecting home workers such as nannies with families, is offering assistance to gig workers. According to a New York Times article, the marketplace is providing up to $500 a year for workers to use for health care expenses (as well as for transportation or education).

Care.com puts “a small portion of the transaction fee it charges many families toward the caregiver benefit and allow the contributions to accrue across jobs,” writes Noam Scheiber in the Times. Sheila Marcelo, the founder and chief executive of Care.com, says in the article that the gig economy shouldn’t prevent people from having access to healthcare or other benefits. “As freelance labor moves to work for different people, their benefits should move with them,” she says in the article.

Although some gig workers are beginning to unionize in order to receive benefits (drivers for Uber, for example, are taking efforts in several cities to unionize), a lot remains to done for workers in this new economy, so that while they are free to pick and choose among gigs in order to earn a living, they shouldn’t have to worry about healthcare costs as well.

But what Care.com is doing is, at least, a step in the right direction.

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