In a press release issued Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services encouraged gig economy companies, such as Uber, Lyft, and Doordash, to “share information with gig workers on their ability to enroll in affordable, quality, health coverage during the 2021 Marketplace Special Enrollment Period.” They stated that workers working for those and similar companies as a reuslt of COVID-19 related unemployment may be eligible for reduced premiums.
The release explained that “many online platform companies” have worked with the agency to incorporate access to healthcare programs directly into the smartphone apps that gig workers use to earn income. The companies also committed to hosting informational content for their workers as to the availability of affordable health coverage.
“As millions of Americans have relied on gig economy work to sustain their incomes and support their families during the pandemic, we want these hardworking men and women to know they can purchase quality, affordable health coverage through HealthCare.gov,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “And thanks to the American Rescue Plan, these gig workers may be eligible for increased financial help to reduce the cost of their monthly premiums, making the health insurance plans on the Marketplace more affordable than ever before. I encourage everyone to go to Healthcare.gov to see if they are eligible for lower costs coverage today.”
Gig economy workers are largely classified as independent contractors, rather than employees, which has resulted in litigation. Gig economy companies are among those who have seen increased litigation in the wake of COVID-19, as their services become more popular.