According to the Census Bureau, more than 48 million Americans were uninsured as of 2012. With all the resistance President Obama's Affordable Healthcare Act has been facing, that number isn't expected to drop by much over the next decade. Fortunately, some people in this country still believe in doing their part to create change.
HackerCare, which was created in response to the Affordable Care Act, was formed for the sole purpose of helping tech professionals and fledgling startups to get quality health coverage that they might not have otherwise qualified for through other insurance providers.
The membership group is brokered by Stone Meadow Benefits, an expert in small and mid-sized group healthcare benefits, and is planning to create a co-op that could potentially cover large deductibles for members that can't otherwise cover them out-of-pocket.
Now, some people like to turn healthcare into a political issue. It's not. I'm not going to comment on the political aspect of the ACA; what I will say is that HackerCare and membership groups like it are most American's best hope for getting access to the healthcare they need without breaking their budgets.
I'd also like to point out that the business model HackerCare is founded on a solid approach to group benefits. I'm just a person that loves new startups and I really think this is going to be an epic program!
There seems to be a trend in the business environment lately toward creating innovative healthcare solutions for people and organizations that have always fallen between the cracks – independent contractors, non-profits and startups with limited resources to devote to offering their employees healthcare benefits, professionals that are having trouble getting coverage due to irregular employment.
There's another side to this, too. Group benefits like HackerCare aren't just about health benefits. It's about creating a community that supports its members, which in the case of HackerCare means offering members discounts on dozens of other services. There's a lot to be said for that approach. Too many small businesses and startups today lose sight of the fact that the biggest ingredient to success is the human element. Running a successful business is about learning how to nurture relationships – with clients, with vendors, and with employees. Since business is inherently a social activity that relies on the cooperation of everyone involved, it stands to reason that this approach to group benefits can only make your business stronger.
This is definitely something that everyone without health insurance and companies interested in offering affordable insurance to its employees should know about. When this approach catches on and more companies like HackerCare are formed, it could very well put a huge dent in the number of uninsured Americans over the next decade.
So I just want to say kudos to HackerCare. If you wait until the perfect moment to make a change, the moment will never come. Today – this moment – is the perfect time to start moving toward a goal.
For more information on HackerCare, which will be launched on February 5th at the Startup Policy Lab at Mozilla in San Francisco (http://www.meetup.com/Startup-Policy-Lab/events/155662992/), visit hackercare.org or contact Gina Lujan at gina AT hackerlab.org.