Some 53 million people in the U.S. freelance for a living. And even in these days of Obamacare, finding good health insurance can be a challenge for them.
So the San Francisco health insurance marketplace Stride Health has announced a new partnership with the on-demand delivery service Postmates to help Postmates couriers quickly find affordable health insurance.
“Our recommendation engine is built from the ground up for freelancers,” Stride Health CEO Noah Lang said. “It’s a mobile-first web app that swiftly guides you to the intelligent coverage investment best suited to your life.”
Lang said Stride instantly predicts the insurance buyer’s total spend on health care for the next year, and matches plans with the buyer’s existing doctors. “We can get you covered in 10 minutes or less,” Lang said. Sixty percent of Stride Health’s sign-ups now happen on mobile devices, he adds.
“We’re stitched into the Postmates daily experience so they can log on to get covered on the go, or revisit Stride for guidance on using their plan at their doctor’s office, at the pharmacy, or even in an emergency,” Lang said.
Stride says it’s also launching a referral program in which it will reimburse the insurance premiums of Stride members who refer friends to the service. Lang told me his company will pay for a month of insurance coverage for members who refer three new members, or for a whole year of coverage for those who refer 10 new customers.
When people buy health insurance through Stride Health, they input information through a web interface and the system quickly builds a health profile for them. Once it has the information it needs, an algorithm forecasts their health costs for the next year. The service finds the best plan for the buyer, and gives them advice throughout the year on the best way to use the benefits.
Stride acts as a reseller of health plans from many carriers and earns a commission when it sells a plan. Stride can also match users with appropriate government benefits.
“Despite the Affordable Care Act’s improvements to the freelance economy, finding affordable health insurance is still incredibly difficult,” Lang says. “Even worse, it’s hard to pick a plan effectively; a recent Stride study found that 40 percent of Americans likely pay for too much coverage.”
He continues: “This is why our partnerships with Postmates, Uber, and TaskRabbit are so important; We empower freelancers with smart investments and enable them to pursue more independent careers without risk,” he said. “WIth 60 million independent contractors in the workforce by 2020, it’s a need that can’t be ignored.”
Stride Heath was announced as part of Rock Health’s sixth class of startups in May 2014.