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Freelancing Isn't Free

Decorporatized health care.

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The Freelancers Union is thriving as the media business collapses, adding around 3,000 new members in October, 50 percent more than in a typical month. Now the group, which has offered group-rate health coverage through deals with traditional insurers, will launch the Freelancers Insurance Company. Founder Sarah Horowitz was frustrated by rapidly escalating premiums at the established providers, so she made a list of ten required services, got bids for each function, and then assembled what the union hopes will be a cheap system with good coverage. The state requires insurance companies to maintain sufficient cash to pay all claims; the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, among others, gave grants and low-interest loans to create a $17 million reserve. The new plans, which start January 1, will carry higher premiums than 2008’s, but Horowitz hopes future increases will stay in check. We’re the boss, so it’s not about what’s most profitable, she says.

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