Generally speaking, Amazon flex employees make $18-$25 an hour but receive no health benefits. This is because you are classified as an independent contractor. Therefore, Amazon is not required to provide you with health insurance. However, there are many options for you to have both affordable health coverage and a flexible job as an Amazon flex driver.
Amazon Flex Employees
Amazon flex employees are considered independent contractors and work on their own schedule to deliver packages for Amazon. Amazon flex employees are also known as amazon delivery drivers. The company advertises the job as a great way to earn extra money at your convenience. The Amazon Jobs website lists eligibility criteria as:
- Being 21 years or older
- Having a valid U.S. driver’s license
- Having a mid-size or larger vehicle
As an independent contractor of Amazon, you are not provided with health benefits. Independent contractors are 1099 workers, freelancers, and independent workers. 1099 workers are not classified as traditional “employees” and therefore do not receive the same benefits as W-2 employees.
In most cases, independent contractors have much greater flexibility when it comes to their schedule, as boasted by Amazon as a perk of the job. 1099 employees will usually need to provide their own supplies for employment, an example being how you must have your own vehicle for this job. As an Independent worker, you are responsible for filing your own self-employment tax returns. If you earn over $600 in the respective tax year you will have the 1099-MISC tax form issued to you by Amazon.
Auto insurance is the only form of insurance provided to you as an Amazon Flex employee. Amazon requires you to have and maintain personal auto insurance but the company also provides you with Amazon Commercial Auto Insurance Policy at no additional cost. The Amazon auto insurance policy includes:
- Auto liability coverage
- Uninsured motorist/under-insured motorist coverage
- Contingent comprehensive and collision coverage
Amazon’s auto insurance policy only covers you when actively driving for Amazon. JT Legal Group has researched and outlined the extent of Amazon’s auto insurance as follows: As of now, their auto insurance policy covers $50,000 in damage to your vehicle. You can receive up ot $1 million in injury protection and damage coverage if you are ina crash with an uninsured or underinsured driver. For other situations, you can receive up to $1 million in liability coverage.
Health Benefit Options as an Amazon Flex Driver
Amazon does not offer health benefits as a flex driver, therefore, you will need to explore other options to obtain health insurance. Exploring multiple options and knowing what to look for in health insurance or membership plan is important. There are many things to consider when choosing a new plan, and it is crucial to evaluate your health needs so that you may anticipate accurate costs. Some questions to help determine your health needs include:
- Do I have any pre-existing chronic conditions?
- Do I need a plan that will cover my specific prescription drugs?
- How often do I go to the doctor?
- Am I anticipating another life change, such as a marriage or the birth of a child?
- Do I have any surgeries coming up?
National Public Radio (NPR) outlines six important tips for choosing a health insurance plan in this article. There are several options for securing health coverage:
Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance
Your employer's insurance may be a great option if you are employed somewhere else in addition to working as a flex driver. Because employers cover part of your health coverage costs and premiums, employer-sponsored health insurance is usually the most affordable option. Your employer selects and purchases your health coverage and can extend to your spouse and dependents.
Family Member’s plans
Another potential option is to join a family member’s plan, whether that be a parent or a spouse. If you are under 26 you can remain on your parents’ health insurance plan. If you are married or about to get married you may be able to get covered by your spouse’s health insurance. You may be eligible to join your spouse’s ACA-qualified insurance or their employer-sponsored coverage. However, checking in with the respective employer or insurance company before canceling your own health insurance is important.
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Individual Insurance Through A Marketplace Plan
Finding an affordable individual health insurance plan on- or off-exchange may be a great option. Most find a plan on the exchange, meaning on the Affordable Care Act Marketplace or through your state’s respective enrollment website. By law, all ACA plans must offer these ten essential health benefits with no annual limit on the benefit amount:
- Ambulatory outpatient services
- Inpatient hospital services
- Maternity and newborn care
- Emergency care
- Prescription drugs
- Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health services
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services
- Laboratory services
- Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
- Pediatric services, including oral and vision care (some variations state by state)
Individual health insurance can be purchased from the health insurance marketplace during open enrollment season each year, usually spanning the months of November through January. There are four different metal tiers, or plans, that you can choose between depending on your health coverage needs and budget. Individual health insurance can range from $221 to $839 per month.
Enrolling in a catastrophic health plan is one way to ensure you have coverage for any unforeseen medical emergencies. These plans are only available to people under age 30, or people 30 and older who qualify for a hardship/affordability exemption.
Catastrophic plans usually have much lower monthly premiums than gold, silver, or bronze, but have extremely high deductibles (approximately $8,700) - meaning you will be paying for every service out-of-pocket until this deductible is met. Catastrophic plans do cover all of the essential benefits defined by the ACA (listed above), but due to the high cost, only less than 1% of Americans enroll in one each year.
Health Insurance Alternatives
There are also health insurance alternatives worth looking into. Mira works to increase access and affordability of the most common medical services. For a membership cost of just $45 per month, you can access urgent care visits, lab testings, and up to 80 percent off on over 1,000 prescriptions.
Mira is not a health insurance, but rather a health membership plan; this means that there are no deductibles nor proof of income needed to secure membership. As an all-in-one flexible membership plan, you can access healthcare for up to 80% off the normal costs.
Many other alternatives to health insurance may be of interest to you. These include other care memberships, medical cost-sharing plans, discount cards, indemnity insurance, and just paying out of pocket. This Mira article outlines many viable alternatives to health insurance that many freelancers and 1099 employees have found to be useful in obtaining affordable medical care.
Amazon Flex Health Benefits Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Consider this additional information when it comes to Amazon Flex Health Benefits.
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Do Other Amazon Employees, Not Contractors, Have Health Insurance?
Yes, Full-Time Amazon employees are offered comprehensive health benefits, including medical, dental, and vision coverage. In addition, the company has launched Amazon Care a hybrid virtual and in-person health benefit to increase access to high quality physical and mental health care to their employees.
What Other Benefits Do Amazon Flex Employees Receive?
The major benefit offered to employees is Amazon Flex Rewards. It is a point-based program that allows drivers to earn points with each delivery. These points can then be redeemed for things such as insurance advice through Stride Health, preferred scheduling for your deliveries, and the Amazon Flex debit card.
How Do I Sign Up to Become an Amazon Flex Driver?
To become an Amazon Flex Driver you can sign up by following Amazon’s hiring website. The first step is to download the Amazon Flex app. From there, you can enter your information and see if Amazon is hiring drivers in your area and if you meet the requirements!
As an Amazon flex driver, you are classified as an independent contractor, meaning the company will not provide you with health insurance. This means you will have to seek out health coverage on your own through private health insurance, employer-sponsored coverage, health insurance alternatives, or a family member. Being an Amazon Flex Employee allows you to earn extra money, on your own time and on your own schedule. With a job this flexible, and an opportunity to make $18-$25 per hour, it is important to remember the importance of health care coverage.
Mira offers exclusive health benefits for just $45 per month and with no deductible, including affordable urgent care visits, low-cost lab testing, and discounted prescriptions. Our care navigation team can also help you find affordable healthcare services in your area! Sign up today to get started.
Kendra Bean is from Maui, Hawaiʻi. She is currently enrolled at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, specializing in Epidemiology. She is passionate about improving health literacy and access to care, specifically in rural areas.