Health and Beauty

The first medical center just for freelancers is coming to Brooklyn

Sara Horowitz tours the new building. Photo from Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times.

One in three working Americans is a freelancer of some ilk and, judging by the amount of serious faces clicking away on Macbooks in every coffee shop at 11am on weekdays, a lot of them are in Brooklyn. So it makes sense that the first medical center in the country designated exclusively for independent workers and their families would be located in the heart of the rapidly redeveloping Downtown Brooklyn business district.

The Freelancers Union is renovating a bright, 6,000-square-foot space at 408 Jay Street in Fulton Mall for a November opening of what they call a “medical home.” You have to have insurance through the Freelancers Insurance Company to take advantage of it, but if you do, you’ll get free primary care and pediatric services. Plus, since time spent in waiting rooms is lost money in the freelance world, the waiting area will be wifi-enabled with iPads for freelancers’ convenience. And a yoga center, because this is Brooklyn after all. 

If you have insurance through the Freelancers Insurance Company, you will be given the choice to opt-in (for free) to the Freelancers Medical Center, where you will be able to go for primary care and pediatric services and pay no co-pays or fees for your visit (so not entirely free, just included in monthly premium).

Sara Horowitz, founder and president of The Freelancers Union, said the state-of-the-art medical center will strive to revolutionize healthcare delivery by providing a patient-centered care model that will allow “physicians to limit their patient load, focus more intensely on each patient, reduce wait times, and lower costs by moving away from the old fee-for-service model.”

In partnership with Iora Health, the facility will provide same-day and appointment services. Members will have the same access to the full network of healthcare providers under their plan, but may utilize services at the Freelancers Medical Center free of co-pays and deductibles that would otherwise apply. The center will be available ONLY to members who opt-in, so wait times will likely be short especially in the early days of operation.

Seems like a good deal, but FIC insurance is not exactly cheap. According to its website, FIC currently covers more than 23,000 New York freelancers and their families for about a third less than other options. The most affordable monthly plan is Value 2 at $225/month and requires $10k out of pocket deductible on all services (no co-pay) before coverage kicks in. So this is great if you have to get your appendix removed or get hit by a car while riding your bike, but certainly not ideal for coverage of everyday illness and ongoing ailments requiring doctors visits.

But visits to the center for basic primary care would be free, so when your throat looks like it’s growing cauliflower you could go get checked out and a prescription for a Z-Pak instead of pumping yourself full of vitamin C and throat numbing spray.

So what do you think, freelancers of Brokelyn? Are you a member? Will you take advantage of this new facility? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Follow Rachel (and offer her a job so she can afford healthcare): @RaeinBK.

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