As the Trump administration guts spending on marketing campaigns for Obamacare, aiming (unsuccessfully) to undercut enrollment, tech companies are launching their own campaigns to promote insurance plans offered under the Affordable Care Act.
Uber is among a number of tech companies launching programs and events to help contractors enroll in Obamacare. Uber’s project, which started in June, is ramping up on Friday to include events across 28 U.S. cities. The events are designed to help drivers sign up for insurance plans, Reuters reported, in partnership with California health insurance startup Stride Health. Stride Health is also working with Etsy, DoorDash, and Postmates on similar initiatives.
According to Reuters, Stride Health claims it’s helped connect almost 150,000 Uber drivers with an insurance plan last year. And Uber regional manager Meghan Joyce told Reuters that the company is “doubling down on that” this year.
And it makes sense that Uber would want to “double down” on getting its drivers signed up for health insurance. In the gig economy, the success of the service hinges on a steady pool of independent contractors. Because Uber neglects to give its workers status as full-time employees, the company does not have to give those workers otherwise legally required benefits. And it doesn’t want to, either.
So of course a world in which people believe they can only get insured through full-time employment might rattle Uber, motivating the company to make life in the labor economy feel a little less daunting by spearheading its own marketing campaign. And it’s not just a program to help its drivers sign up for health insurance—Uber has also taken strides to be less shitty to its contractors with its “180 days of change,” which includes shortening the cancellation window for rides and rolling out a tipping option.