Indy Hall has a plan to provide healthcare to freelancers - Technical.ly Philly

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Aug. 7, 2019 12:28 pm

Indy Hall has a plan to provide healthcare to freelancers

Cofounder Alex Hillman said he can't share details yet, but for now, the coworking space needs 1,000 responses to pursue a healthcare plan for freelancers and small business owners.
Update: One of Alex Hillman's comments about his vision for the plan has been clarified. (8/7/19, 1:56 p.m.)

Affordable healthcare for freelancers is definitely not a new problem.

According to Alex Hillman, questions about how coworking space Indy Hall can help provide healthcare came up at its first meeting back in 2006. Now, the cofounder says he has a potential plan to help independents both in and out of the Indy Hall network — but he can’t tell us anything until he has some data to work with.

Hillman announced in a tweet thread Friday that Indy Hall is conducting a survey for full-time freelancers and small business owners. The questions ask you to outline you overall healthcare plan, including dependents, general costs and satisfaction rate. Hillman also encouraged people hoping to go into business for themselves but held back by employer benefits to respond.

For the last two months, Hillman said, he’s been assessing a new model of healthcare with an unnamed partner. If it works, it would give independently employed people access to better premiums, lower deductibles and potentially improved healthcare quality. The catch? It needs to be done on a (semi) large scale — somewhere between 500 to 1,000 participants — which is where the survey comes in. Hillman hopes to gauge the scale of freelancers’ healthcare to see if there’s enough interest to move forward.

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“While we don’t need a huge pool to make it work, there are some significant upfront costs to make this happen,” Hillman said. “If the pool is large enough, those costs can be absorbed nearly invisibly into the rollout, and members can start to see the full benefits earlier.”

The coverage wouldn’t be a perk exclusive to Indy Hall. Although any current and future members could apply for the healthcare plan, it wouldn’t be a requirement nor exclusive to members of the coworking space.

Hillman said that while he doesn’t believe the new plan would solve the freelance healthcare problem for everybody, he does think it can open the possibility of more entrepreneurs in Philly.

“For me, entrepreneurship needs to look a lot less like ‘what is the fastest way to build a giant company’ and instead a lot more like tight networks of independent practitioners,” Hillman said. “If we can remove or reduce the economic barriers of healthcare that stops people from even considering the independent path, this effort is worth it.”

The survey is open until the end of August, and Hillman said Wednesday that it had already received almost 200 submissions.

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People: Alex Hillman
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