Health Insurance through Amazon Stride Flex sounds tempting, but is Amazon’s Flex health insurance worth it?
What Is Stride Amazon Flex Health Insurance?
Amazon contracts with drivers from several different platforms. The most public way to drive for Amazon is via the company’s Amazon Flex program. Amazon Flex drivers select a block of time they want to work making deliveries for Amazon. Since drivers get to choose the time, manner, and place of their paid efforts, all Flex drivers are independent contractors, meaning they do not get access to Amazon’s health plan.
Amazon Flex health insurance is offered through an Amazon corporate partner called Stride.
How Can Amazon Offer Health Insurance to Its Flex Drivers?
The Stride Amazon Flex health insurance for drivers is really an interface to your state’s health insurance website, or the federal Marketplace for health plans. Republicans have made it their mission to tear down and reduce these so-called Obamacare health insurance plans, so don’t get too excited.
The Stride by Amazon Flex platform asks the same questions as any of the healthcare marketplaces. You name, your age, what doctors you want to use, what prescriptions you take and want coverage for, and what conditions you may have. Remember, the pre-existing conditions part of the law still exists, so even if you have asthma, or high blood pressure. Then, it asks about your income. Although subsidies have been made less generous thanks to ongoing attacks on the law, you can still get help paying your insurance premium depending upon your income.
Just for example, I put in a household income of $50,000 for a single person. According to the happy dialog box that appears, I have an estimated savings of $146/month on my health insurance plans. Once you click the Continue with Savings box (nice user interface design) it asks for more information, but you can click skip to my plans.
What Amazon Flex Health Insurance Should I Choose?
Unfortunately, this is where the Finance Gourmet’s ability to help comes to an end. The choices you see are a function of where you live, if your state has its own health insurance marketplace, how many people, how old you are, and how much money you make.
To compare the plans, pay attention to the Bronze, Silver, and Gold designations. The thing Obamacare did that made certain people mad is very helpful to people who aren’t used to insurance coverage, and to keep healthcare plans from “tricking” people by making their health plan seem better, or from offering bare bones, scamsurance to people.
The Best Stride Amazon Flex Health Insurance
The best Flex insurance is based upon your needs. It helps if you have some idea of what kind of health care you need. Are you young and healthy? You may want to look at plans that offer little “normal” health care but cover big expenses just in case you are in an accident or get sick. If you have medical issues, then look for plans that seem to cover what you typically need.
Don’t ignore the details when choosing health insurance. I have cancer and to be difficult, I put in two of my most expensive prescriptions along with a fairly standard blood pressure medication. There are two huge things to notice in this particular plan. First, pomalyst can be super expensive. This plan not only covers it, but it also doesn’t put it into the “specialty” tier. As you can see, that makes an enormous difference. Lyrica is still under patent and therefore highway robbery in most cases. This insurance charges $80/month. The second thing to notice is that the prescription coverage for these medications kicks in right away, instead of after meeting the deductible. If your health care is mainly about ongoing medications instead of expensive doctors’ appointments, this might be a good choice for you.
Deadline To Enroll in Amazon Driver Health Care
These health insurance plans basically allow you to enroll only once a year during an open enrollment period. This is to keep you from not paying for any health insurance all year and then suddenly enrolling because you wiped out on your bike and now you need to go see a doctor. In this case, you are out of luck until the next enrollment period.
Is Stride Amazon Flex Health Insurance Worth It?
America’s health care system drives millions of people into bankruptcy each year, often for limited amounts of treatment. Ironically, the less likely you are to be able to afford health insurance, the more likely you need it. Someone with a big salary stocking away big bucks in a tax-advantaged Health Savings Account (HSA) can handle paying a few thousand dollars, getting a cash payment discount, for a broken arm. Someone working paycheck to paycheck could be financially devastated by the same issue.
If you cannot afford health care, consider buying the absolute cheapest plan you can get. A lot of health care in America involves a sort of rack rate, and a rate charged to insurance companies. That means something that costs $10,000 to a person without insurance could cost just $800 to a person with insurance. Even if your insurance does not cover that $800 because of a deductible or whatever, you still get the insurance discount. As you can see that can be just as helpful as actual health care coverage.
If you can get health insurance through an employer or union group or something, it is almost guaranteed to be better than the insurance you can buy on the open market. Be sure to compare your company plan to any Amazon plan. The way Amazon Flex insurance can be really worth it is if your spouse works a job with a health plan that requires much lower payments to cover just them, or even them with kids, than it does for an added spouse.
In that case, you may want to sign up through your spouse’s employer and get your own insurance from Stride or other healthcare portals. This could make your spouse’s monthly premium much lower, while your premium as just one person is much lower on the insurance marketplaces.
As always, there is help available if you know where to turn. Most states offer a helpline or website to help with questions. An employer HR department can be a great resource for an employee plan. Then, the health plans themselves can be huge sources of information. Ask specific questions, require they give you costs for the things that affect you most. Like a lot of companies, insurance companies will be super helpful when making the sale, even if they are less helpful after. Of course, the government has a website to help at HealthCare.gov.
About the Author
By Brian Nelson – Brian is a former Certified Financial Planner and financial advisor. He writes for the Finance Gourmet and other financial publications. The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. At the time of publication, Mr. Nelson did not own any securities mentioned above, however, that may change at any time without notice. ArcticLlama, LLC, FinanceGourmet.com, and Brian Nelson, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment options.