The 26-year-old lives paycheck to paycheck as a freelance actor/part-time server and doesn't get health benefits through either position, he said. After turning 26 and becoming ineligible for his parents' insurance, he enrolled in a
With private insurance out of his price range, Hopps said he was relieved to have an accessible option and not have to "bite the bullet" of taking on a full-time job for benefits. As
"I love getting to work gig to gig, because it allows me the freedom to pursue other projects on the side," he said. "If I had to work a 9 to 5 just for the benefits, I wouldn't be able to do as much as I do. ... I'd probably just keep gigging and hope I don't get sick."
More than any other state,
While that expansion brought in many people living near or below the poverty line, it also includes independent workers in the so-called "gig economy" -- a growing class of professionals who patch together income from multiple jobs. The sector has thrived as sharing economy companies such as Uber,
More than 3 million people in the
A Republican proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act now puts in danger the health insurance of independent workers who received
The credits likely won't go very far in covering high medical costs and premiums in
A February study from the UC Berkeley Labor Center found that about 25 percent of restaurant and food service workers could lose coverage in the event of a federal health law repeal, as could 22 percent of auto mechanics, hair stylists and people classified in the study's "other services" category. Businesses employing fewer than 50 people are not required by current law to insure their employees, and larger businesses must insure only their full-time workers.
"The Affordable Care Act empowered individuals to break away from traditional work and build an independent career -- whether that's freelancing or driving for Uber or starting their own business," Lang said. "It's removed for them the worry of 'Where am I going to get coverage for me and my family, and how much is it going to cost?' "
About 14 percent of
"I'm definitely in a jack-of-all-trades situation," he said. "For the most part I could see doctors on that, and I could see doctors on Covered California. It was nice to have that year-round."
Unable to afford private insurance, she enrolled instead in a plan through Covered California. Later that year, Ramsey got into a serious car accident that required surgery and follow-up treatments. She was surprised to learn that almost all of her bills, totaling several thousand dollars, would be covered.
That coverage also helped Ramsey save money while she developed her own business, TR Social Marketing. Just this month, the company was acquired by a larger firm, which will soon provide her with job-based benefits.
"It saved me. I don't know what I would have done," Ramsey said of the insurance policy she bought through Covered California. "It was so weird to go from having this great insurance to having nothing. It was really nice to have that cushion."
For entrepreneurs such as Ramsey, the Affordable Care Act transformed how and where they worked, said
"For generations, we've put all our benefits and protections through employers," Foster said. "The (Affordable Care Act) changed that. For the first time in history you could have access to a benefit outside your employer. It was a huge step in the direction of (health insurance) portability for changing work."
When he called the
"Health care has been a big concern, especially recently, since we're not sure what's going to happen," he said. "I'd wanted to run a business for a long time, and I really wanted to do something I was passionate about. The first couple of years are the most stressful, and that's when it's most needed."
(c)2017 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)
Visit The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.) at www.sacbee.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.