There are numerous benefits to becoming an independent worker. Some of the most celebrated benefits include increased earning potential, a flexible schedule, and an improved work-life balance. However, there are many challenges that arise on a new, independent career path.

Many of our customers are independent workers, who have told us that one of their top concerns is the lack of access to employee sponsored benefits – most notably like health insurance and retirement plan options.

With 53 million freelancers in the US who don’t have access to traditional benefits, private companies are answering the call, providing affordable and easy to understand benefits for all.

Healthcare for Freelancers

According to the Workforce of the Future Survey, only 17% of employers extend access to their health benefits to freelancers. This is a money saving option for many companies, but can leave independent workers in a bind. Luckily, there are a few options.

No matter your political affiliation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is a healthcare option that is not tied to your employment status. Freelancers are able to go through their state’s ACA marketplace to learn more about the options available for their individual circumstances.

Freelancers Union surfaces other options, doing some of the legwork to assess the best carriers and plans for independents. They partner up with providers to direct people to preferred coverage options across dental, individual health, and more.

Retired Freelancers

Retirement Options

The story is similar when it comes to retirement options. Only 12% of companies that offer retirement options extend access to the freelancers they work with. So how can freelancers prepare for retirement?

Luckily, there’s a slew of financial technology companies that offer investment options and advisors at a low cost.

Honest Dollar is a company that offers IRA accounts that fit your changing lifestyle (and income stream). Personal Capital offers tools to help you plan for retirement, see where you stand against others in your state, and also offers advisory and wealth management services for any financial circumstance.

We know both health care and retirement plans are a top concern for everyone (in fact, research shows that the American workforce overall would prefer increased benefits over an increase in salary). As more people turn to freelancing, let’s hope companies start to feel more pressure to extend their benefits to everyone. In the meantime, do your own homework and you’re sure to find a smart way to create your own safety net.