48% say gig work negatively affects their access to health insurance.
26 Jan 2023
New York, NY, January 26, 2023 — A fourth segment of a broad new study sponsored by Legal & General Group (LGEN, LGNNY), U.S. Gig Economy, Part 4: Gig Workers Aren’t Meeting Their Health, Life Insurance Needs, was released today. The report is part of a continuing exploration of the changing nature of work in the U.S., people’s relationship to it, and what employers should be thinking about in order to attract back talent. The study looks into why people choose or find their way to the U.S. Gig Economy, and some of the tradeoffs they make to maintain their independence. Between Part 3, Why Gig Work Is Becoming a Choice for So Many, and the current report, Legal & General released a Flash Report on Tech Workers in the U.S. Gig Economy in response to massive layoffs in the tech sector and the flood of workers likely to enter the freelance market as a result.
This fourth segment of the data-rich study, Gig Workers Aren’t Meeting Their Health, Life Insurance Needs, finds that nearly half (48%) of gig workers find their access to health insurance negatively affected by deciding to engage in freelance work. The study also looks into the proportion and demographics of gig workers who are underinsured or uninsured for both health and life insurance and seeks to answer the question of how their situation compares to salaried American workers.
The study found that many gig workers are stressed and frustrated by the lack of a social safety net, with the discrepancy between the overall number of Americans insured for healthcare and the number of gig workers insured pointing to a financially insecure and underrepresented segment of the workforce. Nor were the shortfalls limited to health insurance. Other key social and financial safety nets were also poorly represented among gig workers, the study notes, including life insurance, disability insurance, and retirement savings.
Legal & General’s study looks at the complex and multifaceted societal and financial factors behind independent work, including the role of the pandemic in worsening medical care and coverage for many gig workers, and the implications of recent U.S. government policy changes.
Future segments of this research will look in depth at the fierce independent mindedness of gig workers; their outlook and situation around retirement planning; what it would take to get gig workers to go back to the traditional workplace; and a closer look at the pandemic fallout for gig workers.
Legal & General Group Chief Executive Sir Nigel Wilson: "The pandemic has made it abundantly clear that we can’t have economic health without physical health. Healthcare coverage is considered a given in most wealthy, industrialized nations. American gig workers expressing insecurity over their coverage acts as a call to action for companies to tackle this deeply ingrained divide. The private sector has the collective know-how and financial wherewithal to develop creative levelling-up solutions that make both social and fiscal sense.”
Study co-author and Legal & General Director of Levelling-Up, John Godfrey: "The steady growth of the U.S. gig economy spotlights the importance of addressing these basic safety nets. While a handful of gig work platforms are doing a great job of providing affordable coverage, the larger population of independent workers has yet to be included. We hope this research will bring to the forefront the need to create a user-friendly benefits infrastructure and bring it to this broader population of gig workers."
Established in 1836, Legal & General is one of the UK's leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with over £1.2 trillion in total assets under management* of which a third is international. We also provide powerful asset origination capabilities. Together, these underpin our leading retirement and protection solutions: we are a leading international player in pension risk transfer, in UK and US life insurance, and in UK workplace pensions and retirement income. Through inclusive capitalism, we aim to build a better society by investing in long-term assets that benefit everyone.
*at 31 Dec 2022