Freelancing can be incredibly fulfilling and challenging at the same time. On one end, gig workers have the flexibility to work when and where they please and leverage their skillsets. There is no boss beyond a client, and freelancers can take on the projects they want. On the other hand, they tend to work much, much harder and precariously so.
For freelancers with limited savings, taking time off or going to the doctor’s is often not an option. Thankfully, new solutions are sprouting up, including Catch which offers freelancers health benefits. While Catch is a US-based startup, their recent attention shines a light on the insurance needs of a growing freelancer economy.
What is Catch?
- Catch sells health insurance, retirement savings plans, and tax withholding
- They target freelancers, contractors, and those without coverage
- They have several services focused on evaluating health plans, retirement savings, tax withholding to help freelancers save for taxes, and time off savings to allow for vacations
Freelancers face today’s realities
Freelancers don’t get the perks corporate jobs provide their employees (normal perks like insurance, not tech perks). Whilst we know where the tradeoffs lie (flexible hours, pocket the profits directly etc.), this can deeply impact gig economy workers over time. As Catch’s founders pointed out, “(…) the existing state of the gig economy is hurting society. Without better systems to provide support for freelance/contract workers, we are making people more precarious and less likely to succeed financially.” Indeed, with wages and jobs stagnating, governments and companies are slow to react to today’s new employment realities. Freelancers make up a growing number of the workforce which is why Catch wants to latch onto this new opportunity.
Safety nets empower workers
More importantly, firms like Catch can supercharge today’s seismic societal changes. Providing freelancers with simple insurance and benefits can help take a load off of their mind and enable their best work instead. Employees tend to underperform when external factors impact them. This is compounded for freelancers who often need to pay significantly more for fewer benefits. For example, “(…) there’s a $6,000/year IRA limit for individuals while the corporate equivalent 401k limit is $19,000, and health insurance is much cheaper for groups than individuals.” Instead, new and nimble solutions will help freelancers do what they do best: create amazing work in an ever-changing work environment.