This should come as no surprise for independent professionals and small business owners on Thumbtack: Healthcare is one of the most expensive aspects of running your own business. While employees of large companies often have access to employer-sponsored health insurance, sole entrepreneurs, sole proprietors and independent workers—like many of the small business owners on Thumbtack—must research, buy and manage their own coverage. When we surveyed Thumbtack pros, one in three told us healthcare and affordable coverage was a big concern.
That’s why earlier this fall, Thumbtack president and co-founder Jonathan Swanson spoke at the White House about how we can help get more self-employed professionals covered. It’s also why Thumbtack is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and 16 other companies to provide information about enrollment in coverage throughout the Open Enrollment period.
Open Enrollment is a three-month window when people who need to get individual health insurance can enroll under the Affordable Care Act.
Independent professionals needing health insurance can learn how to sign up for coverage at HealthCare.gov. Open Enrollment runs from November 1 through January 31, 2017. Most people qualify for financial assistance to make insurance more affordable, and health coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2017 for people who sign up by December 15, 2016. Help is also available on the website and at 1-800-318-2596.
We know the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has stirred political passions from all quarters, but there is no question that making benefits like health care available to more individuals makes it easier for people to start and run their own small businesses. In fact, in the annual Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness Survey healthcare is cited as one of business owners top 5 policy concerns.
Highlighting this, over 30 percent of Thumbtack pros report that access to health care affected their decision to start their own small business. If we can make it easier for current and aspiring entrepreneurs to acquire health insurance outside of a traditional employment relationship, then we’d see even more people pursuing their dreams of starting their own business.
As Sean, a landscaper from Indiana on Thumbtack, told us: “Health insurance costs for family coverage in my industry is horrible. Once ObamaCare came into place it helped for me to get as good or better health coverage as I could through the options available from working with someone else.”
At Thumbtack, we are honored to be part of helping entrepreneurs like Sean step out on their own and are our glad to see our country’s insurance infrastructure evolving to meet his needs. With only 20 percent of pros telling us that acquiring insurance is easy, there is still clearly lots of work to be done.
[Photo: Thumbtack CEO Marco Zappacosta talking to Thumbtack pros in San Francisco]