For the growing popularity of contract workers and the gig economy, such workers are often at a disadvantage when it comes to benefits such as health insurance. But in a nod to the growing importance of such relationships--and in some cases thumbing their noses at the Trump administration--companies like Uber who rely heavily on contract workers are taking it upon themselves to promote ACA signups.
The New York Times reports that many Silicon Valley companies are driving campaigns to publicize enrollment in health care plans through ACA marketplaces. It’s not the first time they’ve chosen to lock horns with the current administration, since tech companies are among the most outspoken about policies they see as harming their workforce.
Uber says its campaign is a “response to a growing need for drivers rather than a political act.” It’s also part of a program the company started back in June to better the company’s relationship with its drivers by adding new initiatives and features that benefit those drivers, such as tipping.
The major ACA signup effort launches Friday with events in 28 different cities, from Los Angeles to Indianapolis. As part of its partnership with health consultant startup Stride Health, Uber will provide in-person help for people signing up for ACA coverage in the marketplaces.
Stride Health specializes in helping independent workers select health, dental and vision insurance coverage, and said in the report that it’s also working separately with a group of companies, including Etsy Inc, Door Dash Inc and Postmates Inc, to assist their independent contractors in signing up for insurance.
The move could further boost what has been a record turnout for health care signups thus far this year, despite administration efforts to curtail both funds and hours—as well as advertising—in the hope of terminating the program in the wake of Republicans’ repeated failures to pass a repeal/replace bill. Considering that Uber alone has some 600,000 drivers in 49 states and the District of Columbia, and that close to 150,000 of them searched for health coverage last year through Stride Health, with most of them enrolling, this could give the ACA a further boost.
Meghan Joyce, Uber’s regional general manager of the U.S. and Canada, is quoted saying in the report of the signup efforts, “This year we’re doubling down on that.”