Uber drivers are considered independent contractors, not employees. Therefore, Uber is not required to provide you with health insurance. The average annual salary for an Uber Driver in the U.S. is $42,257, but this does not include health benefits. However, there are many options for you to have both affordable health coverage and a flexible job as an Uber driver.
Health Benefit Options as an Uber Driver
Uber Drivers are referred to as gig-economy workers. You are not provided with health benefits as a gig-economy worker, also referred to as an independent contractor or 1099 worker. 1099 workers are not classified as traditional “employees” and therefore do not receive the same benefits as W-2 employees.
There are many things to consider when choosing a health insurance plan, and it is crucial to evaluate your health needs to anticipate accurate costs. Some questions ThinkHealth recommends asking yourself 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?
Option 1: Individual Insurance Through A Marketplace Plan
Finding an affordable individual health insurance plan on- or off-exchange may be a great option. Most people find a plan in exchange on the Affordable Care Act Marketplace or through their 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 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.
Option 2: Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance
Your employer's insurance may be a great option if you are employed somewhere else in addition to working as an uber 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 it to your spouse and dependents.
Option 3: COBRA Continuation Coverage
Those transitioning from employment to independent contracting might also want to see if they are eligible for the COBRA continuation coverage. This federal law ensures the right to remain on the health insurance plan for a specific period after they leave employment. The range will differ from person to person, but you may get as much as 18 months’ worth of health insurance.
Option 4: Family Member’s plans
Another potential option is to join a family member’s plan, whether a parent or a spouse. If you are under 26, you can remain on your parent's health insurance plan. If you are married or about to get married, you may be able to join your spouse’s ACA-qualified insurance or their employer-sponsored coverage.
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Option 5: Catastrophic plans
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 plans but have extremely high deductibles (approximately $8,700). Catastrophic plans cover all of the essential benefits defined by the ACA (listed above), but due to the high cost, less than 1% of Americans enroll in this type each year.
Option 6: 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 testing, and up to 80% off on over 1000 prescriptions. Mira is not health insurance but rather a health membership plan. This means no deductibles or proof of income are needed to secure membership. You can access healthcare for up to 80% off the standard costs as an all-in-one flexible membership plan.
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 paying out of pocket. This Mira article outlines many viable alternatives to health insurance that many freelancers and 1099 employees have found helpful in obtaining affordable medical care.
Uber Pro Health Insurance Initiative
Uber Pro is a recent development from Uber. It’s a rewards program that recognizes outstanding drivers. Uber teamed up with the United States Department of Health and Human Services to encourage all company drivers to have health insurance.
Uber has partnered with Stride Health, a partner of Healthcare.gov. Stride Health works with independent contractors and part-time employees to bring them affordable and high-quality health care. Stride Health helps consumers by:
- Recommending the best health plan based on specific needs
- Ensuring the lowest possible price for insurance
- Assisting with enrollment and providing support all year round
To access Stride Health’s services, you must be an Uber Pro driver and complete at least one Uber trip per month. Uber Pro is a tier-based program that all qualifying drivers automatically enter into. It is based on points earned from completed trips and overall service qualified. A full outline of Uber Pro requirements is listed here.
Driving for Uber
Auto insurance is the only form of insurance provided to you as an Uber Driver; the company also requires that you have an auto insurance policy that meets your state’s minimum coverage requirements. Uber is not required to pay for work-related injuries (worker’s compensation) because you are not classified as an employee. Uber’s auto insurance may help if you are injured in an accident. The Uber website lists the following insurance coverage for drivers:
Offline or the Driver App Is Off
- Your chosen personal insurance company and coverages apply only
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Virtual primary care, urgent care, and behavioral health visits are only $25 with a Mira membership.
Available or waiting for a ride request: Uber provides third-party liability insurance for covered accidents if your insurance does not apply.
- $50,000 in bodily injury per person
- $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 in property damage per accident
En route to pick up riders and during trips: Uber provides the following insurance for covered accidents:
- $1,000,000 third-party liability
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury and/or first-party injury insurance
- Contingent comprehensive and collision
- Up to the actual cash value of the car with a $2,500 deductible
Third-party liability auto insurance covers “bodily injuries or damages you have caused to your riders, people in other vehicles, pedestrians, or property.” The coverage limits for third-party insurance vary by state but are generally greater than or equal to $1,000,000. Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury and/or first-party injury insurance covers damages to you and your riders if a covered accident occurs during an Uber trip and another driver is at fault and does not have sufficient insurance.
Additionally, Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay) or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) may apply to any healthcare, medical, and/or funeral expenses for you and your riders if injured in a covered accident.
*This coverage excludes drivers in the state of New York. Additionally, personal injury coverage varies by state, so it is essential to check in to see if your state of residence requires personal injury coverage protection.
Coverage for Uber Drivers in California
Proposition 22 awarded California drivers and delivery persons Injury Protection insurance. If you’re injured in an accident while driving or delivering in California with Uber, this insurance can provide you and your family with financial support. Coverage may include:
- Disability Payments
- Earnings replacement up to $1,324 per week
- Medical Expenses
- Accident medical expenses up to $1,000,000 with no deductible or copay
- Survivor Benefits
- Up to $320,000 for eligible dependents
Having reliable health insurance is essential, even if a job does not provide it. As an Uber driver, you are an independent contractor and therefore do not receive health benefits from Uber. Driving can be dangerous, which is one important reason you should have health coverage as an Uber Driver. There are numerous options to explore when searching for affordable and quality health coverage as an independent contractor.
For just $45 per month and with no deductible, Mira offers exclusive health benefits, 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.