IDG Launches Enrollment Drive for NYC App-Based Drivers
New York, NY — Following President Trump’s cancellation of publicity around Obamacare open enrollment, the Independent Drivers Guild is launching its own open enrollment campaign to raise awareness of health insurance options for app-based drivers and assist in enrollment, including providing a translation service to assist drivers in 141 different languages. The Guild (IDG) represents and advocates for more than 60,000 app-based drivers in New York City and some 30 percent, or an estimated 20,000, of these drivers are uninsured.
Gig economy workers are rarely afforded employer-based health insurance and are one of the groups most likely to be harmed by the Trump administration’s decision not to publicize open enrollment. Many app-based drivers also have low household incomes which may make them or their dependents eligible for government subsidized health insurance such as Medicaid or CHIP, but they may not know that they qualify and many have trouble navigating a confusing enrollment system. Unlike most enrollment assistance offered to gig economy workers, the Guild’s enrollment effort will include assistance, at no cost to the workers, in completing applications for government subsidized health insurance options.
“The Trump Administration’s decision to cancel publicity around open enrollment will be especially harmful to workers in the gig economy. Drivers for apps like Uber and Lyft, even those who work full time, don’t have access to group health plans and many of them are uninsured,” said Jim Conigliaro Jr., founder of the Independent Drivers Guild. “We can’t allow political posturing to leave this growing class of workers and their families vulnerable and without healthcare. Getting the word out is particularly challenging in the gig economy because workers are isolated and do not work out of a central office, so we will be reaching out every way we can to ensure every driver hears from us.”
The Guild is committed to reaching out to its full membership of more than 60,000 app-based drivers to educate drivers about their health insurance options. The Guild’s open enrollment campaign will include outreach via email, text messages and phone calls as well as social media and in-person outreach to drivers at the airport lots and Uber’s greenlight hubs.
A recent Independent Drivers Guild survey of New York City drivers found that:
27% of drivers indicated they do not have health insurance, but want it.
56% indicated they care for a dependent under the age of 18.
73% of drivers reported working more than 10 hours on their most recent shift, but 56% reported being paid less than $150 before business expenses.
89% reported that being a For Hire Driver was their main source of income
57% identified their household income as less than $50,000/year. 22% of respondents reported household earnings of less than $30,000 per year.
To put the $50,000 figure into perspective: if the member is leasing their car, approximately 40% of their household income is dedicated solely to their lease.
The IDG’s health insurance enrollment drive is one part of a stepped up effort to expand benefits for drivers. The IDG has been fighting for benefits and protections for ride-hail drivers since its launch in May 2016. Earlier this year, the Guild advocated for upstate drivers to be covered by workers’ compensation through the New York State Black Car Fund (BCF). The Guild also worked with the BCF this year to expand workers’ compensation coverage to include a death benefit for the families of drivers killed on the job. Last year, New York City Council Member Corey Johnson introduced legislation to create a benefit fund for taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers and the Guild advocated for that bill and launched a petition campaign in support of the legislation. While that bill has not seen a vote, the Guild is actively engaged with the City Council urging passage of a benefit fund bill this session. The Guild has also negotiated discounts for members on many of the services drivers rely on, from phone plans and legal services to fight unfair tickets to tax preparation assistance and telemedicine services that allow drivers to get medical attention quickly.
Drivers who wish to learn more about the IDG can visit:
or text DRIVE to 64336 (msg and data rates may apply)
The Independent Drivers Guild is a Machinists Union affiliate representing more than 50,000 app-based drivers in New York City. We are Uber, Lyft, Via, and Juno workers united for a fair for-hire vehicle industry.