Having reliable health insurance is more important than ever before thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. As drivers, we don’t automatically get health insurance, but instead, have to find the best deal on our own.
Right now is open enrollment, but it ends December 15, so if you don’t have health insurance yet, act fast. Open enrollment is the time every year where insurance companies allow you to apply for insurance without having a reason, such as a major life change (i.e., loss of a job, divorce, etc.)
There are a variety of ways to find the best health insurance options for gig workers, and today we’re going to go over the main one that we’ve tried and used before: Stride Health.
This article is part of a paid partnership with Stride Health.
Why Should Drivers Get Health Insurance?
As drivers, our jobs are inherently risky. Even when there’s not a pandemic, being on the road so much makes accidents more likely to happen. While your car insurance offers coverage for these instances, the deductibles are typically higher than if you were to have regular health insurance.
Even without the coronavirus, with how many people are in and out of your vehicle, you’re exposed to the flu and numerous bacteria and viruses throughout the day or night. If you get the sniffles, or worse, the world doesn’t stop for you. You need to get taken care of and back on the road as quickly as possible so you can keep earning.
And, of course, there’s always the “you never know” situations where anything can happen at any time. It’s best to be covered for the unknown as well as the known.
How Can I Get Health Insurance This Year?
It’s easy to sign up for health insurance with Stride. You can go through the process starting here with the Stride website, or you can choose to do it within your Uber Driver app.
Within the Uber Driver app, click on the three bars in the upper left corner, click on Uber Pro, then scroll down to the rewards section. There should be a spot under “Your Blue rewards” that says “Save on health insurance” with a “Get Started” button. Click on “Get Started” to go to the Stride site on your phone. The process will look like this:
From there, on the Stride site, you fill out your zip code and then they’ll ask you questions about who will be covered with the insurance and then basic questions from there to help determine your best options.
You can choose one of the options given or simply compare them to decide at a later date. But, keep in mind, open enrollment concludes on December 15, so you must act fast if you want health insurance for 2021.
You will also have the option of looking at dental and vision insurance options as well. You choose what works for you, your family and your budget.
You’re under no obligation to choose a plan presented to you. Based on the information that I input, I was given three options to choose from.
The top two options are non-profit health plans that cover Minnesota and part of Wisconsin and the third is also a non-profit health insurance plan that covers Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Results will vary by location and other variables.
From there, I was able to look at the coverages and deductibles offered by each plan to make an informed decision. In the cheapest option listed, it was pointed out that the doctor I wanted was not covered by that plan. You have the choice of listing doctors you want to have covered on your plan, or you can leave that blank.
Drivers’ Experience Getting Health Insurance
A couple of our writers have used Stride to get health insurance in the past. Here’s what they experienced.
Jay Cradeur saved $20,000 in health insurance premiums with Stride Health
Jay Cradeur signed up for health insurance through Stride Health and saved $20,000 over two years. When he filled out his information, it was estimated that he would owe $1 a month for health insurance coverage.
Keep in mind, this was 2 years ago, and it varies based on the information you provide, but you could save tons on health insurance if you’re a rideshare driver and sign up through Stride.
Jay said, “Since my after-deduction revenue is so low, I qualify for a massive deduction in premium. This screenshot says that at a $2,000 per month ‘after deductions’ revenue stream, I can qualify for a $902 monthly savings.”
Christian Perea has used Stride since 2014
If you qualify for state health insurance, Stride will let you know that when you’re signing up, so you can check out what’s available to you through your state and see if it’s a better option than what Stride puts together for you.
In Christian’s experience, he had recently learned he had diabetes and wasn’t sure what to do or how to make sure he was covered as an independent contractor. Christian said that Stride was very helpful. “They took a complicated process and made it a lot easier,” said Christian.
Christian also liked that Stride provided a calculator under each plan to calculate the cost of insulin and other necessary medications so he knew what the cost would be out of pocket to get his necessary medication.
Patricia wasn’t covered and decided to check out Stride
Patricia learned that Stride offers free assistance to find an affordable health insurance plan. She looked at the copays she would need for seeing a doctor or going to the emergency room and chose the “bronze” plan based on those numbers.
Staying Safe in the Snow and Hazardous Weather
The weather is turning colder and the conditions are getting worse out there. Not only will you meet hazards while you’re driving, but if you deliver food or goods, you might run into dangerous patches along the way to your customer’s door. Here’s a brief look at what you can do if you find yourself injured on the job and unable to foot the medical bills and/or unable to work until you’re healed up some.
One DoorDash driver on Reddit shared their story. They were delivering food to their customer and lo and behold, the porch was not salted or shoveled, making it a slippery mess.
The driver stated, “It was a measly 1 inch of snow on a very slick wooden porch. Broke my ankle clean through. Can’t bear weight for 6 weeks!”
That is at least 6 weeks that they will be unable to do delivery. If driving for DoorDash is their main source of income, that is devastating news. But, there is something they can do to help ease the burden of not being able to work for 6 weeks… find a personal injury lawyer.
What can a personal injury lawyer do for self-employed workers?
First of all, in a situation like this, the homeowner is liable. If it were an apartment complex, then the managing company would be liable. The owner of the home should have homeowners insurance that would cover this kind of injury.
Some law firms separate their personal injury coverage into the type of injury you had or where you had the injury. For instance, they might divide it up into slip and fall accidents, car accidents, assaults, farm accidents, etc. Find one that covers the type of injury you sustained or the situation you were in when it happened.
Most, if not all, law firms or personal injury lawyers should provide a free consultation. It’s best to do this to start off so you can decide—based on their advice given your circumstance—if pursuing legal aid is in your best interest and will yield what you want or need.
Depending on your situation, a personal injury lawyer could help you get the money you need to pay for your medical bills or even compensation for losing out on working due to your injury.
If something like this happens to you, reach out to Bryant Greening of LegalRideshare.
If you don’t feel comfortable suing the homeowner or management company, be sure to take a look at your terms of service if you got injured on the job. For instance, DoorDash has an occupational accident policy that may cover injuries sustained while on the job. Their policy includes:
- Medical expenses: Up to $1,000,000 with no deductible or co-pay
- Disability payments: Up to $500 a week
- Survivors payments: Up to $150,000 for eligible dependents
Doing what you can to stay safe
Accidents are going to happen. But there are ways to help prevent them. For instance, if the issue is weather, consider the following suggestions to help prevent falls and injuries.
Do the penguin walk
Penguins know what they are doing on the ice and snow. When in doubt, consider walking/waddling like a penguin. Don’t know how? It goes like this!
Keep your feet pointed somewhat outward, extend your arms slightly out from your sides to help keep balance (get them out of your pockets!), and make sure your center of gravity is aligned over your front leg.
Carry salt with you
Keep a parmesan cheese shaker or something similar in your car, filled with sidewalk salt/ice melt. Sprinkle some down in front of you as you make your way through the questionable area. It will start to melt the ice/snow and give you a better chance for traction as you walk.
Get creative like this guy did
This DoorDash delivery person opted not to trudge through the snow on the unplowed driveway to get the food to the customer. Instead, he decided the mailbox would have to suffice.
When your customers aren’t courteous enough to have a clear path for you, take the liberties to get creative and get them their food in a manner that is safe for you.
Make Sure to Sign Up for Health Insurance Before 12/15
Don’t wait until the last minute. Sign up for health insurance to make sure you and your family are covered in 2021.
Don’t assume health care is too expensive – Stride explains the process for inputting your income to make sure you’re getting all the discounts available to you, in your state. If you’re not seeing the prices you expect, consider contacting their customer service department at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your questions answered.
What do you currently use for health insurance, if you have it?
-Paula @ RSG