Access to quality, affordable health insurance has always been a headline issue for independent workers. In our report, Freelancing in America 2016, we found that despite the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for health insurance, 20% of full-time freelancers are still uninsured.Our study revealed that not only does health insurance remain a top concern, but 67% of freelance workers likely to vote would support a candidate who believes all workers should have benefits regardless of employment status and full-time freelancers rate having health care as the most important benefit to support their work and lifestyle.The next president will have to address the flaws in the Affordable Care Act – including the rising cost for healthcare among individual purchasers. This November, candidates now have the opportunity to court the freelance vote by laying out their plans for a better system.Unfortunately, thus far, candidates and policy makers have not directly addressed the freelance workforce, but, the topic of healthcare has come up. In fact, it was one of the first questions from the audience in the second debate:The Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare, it is not affordable. Premiums have gone up, deductibles have gone up, copays has gone up, prescriptions have gone up and the coverage has gone down. What will you do to bring the cost down and make coverage better?The candidates’ responses represented the party line divide on what to do about the ailing system – and though the direction suggested by each party is different, both perspectives agree that the Affordable Care Act can’t remain in its current iteration.Secretary Clinton noted that, despite its flaws, the Affordable Care Act has made key/ game-changing/ important gains in national healthcare. An additional 20 million Americans are now insured under the ACA – bringing national health insurance coverage to 90% of the population, an all-time high. The ACA has made it illegal to refuse an individual health insurance based on a pre-existing condition, to impose lifetime limits on individuals with serious health problems, and to charge women more for health insurance. Finally, under the ACA, young adults may stay on their parents plan until the age of 26.But, Secretary Clinton agreed that health care for individuals and small businesses above the subsidy level – like many freelancers – is still far too expensive for the kind of coverage it buys. At the debate, she proposed that we “keep what works” from the ACA, and work on improving the rest.One of the ways this could happen is the public option. About one-third of the senate currently supports a government-sponsored health plan, meaning every citizen would have access to a basic level of care – and then be able to purchase customized plans atop that. This would essentially detach the insurance market from employment status and even the playing field for independent workers.On the other side of the aisle, Donald Trump and many conservatives advocate repealing the Affordable Care Act altogether. In scaling back government regulation, the idea is that insurance companies will have more incentive to compete. Donald Trump would strike the requirement that most Americans must health care, open up the sale of insurance across state lines, and encourage the use of health savings accounts among consumers. This strategy would put the health insurance system back in the hands of for-profit companies and undo the above gains of the ACA.One thing is clear, for the majority of freelancers, the current system isn’t working. Health insurance is still too expensive for what it covers and the system forces us to buy one-size-fits all packages that don’t fully meet our needs.At Freelancers Union, we advocate for a portable benefits option that could allow freelancers to have the security they need while moving from job to job and gig to gig. This means delivering affordability, choice, and value to all freelancers when selecting health insurance plans, and continuing to provide subsidies to those who need it.From experience, we know that freelancers benefit from pooling resources and shaping marketplaces to meet their needs. At Freelancers Union, we work to bring members together to help them find the right plans and to build power in markets – and collectively advocate for better health insurance options together. With 55 million Americans freelancing today, we have the power to influence the political conversation and build better systems for the future.If you are seeking new health care during Open Enrollment this fall, please consider purchasing through us. Our site features plans handpicked for freelancers in the New York area from providers like Emblem, Oscar, and CareConnect. When you buy through us, a portion of your purchase goes back to the freelance workforce – at no additional cost to you. That means, the health insurance you have to buy anyway helps to fund a better solution for independent workers like you.A new soul and media geek, Laura writes about community, poetry and pop culture. Find her @Pennyscientist or on Freelancers Union.
Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn.Listen now:Eielson A Frontrunner to House F-35 FightersLiz Ruskin, APRN – Washington, D.C.There’s good news for the Fairbanks business community today. The secretary of the Air Force called Alaska’s congressional delegation this morning to announce that Eielson Air Force Base is the only candidate selected to house two squadrons of F-35 fighter planes. The final decision won’t be until the fall of 2015, after a study of the environmental Impact, but Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she’s confident.Mat-Su Asked to Return $12.3M in Federal Grants for Ferry ProjectEllen Lockyer, KSKA – AnchorageThe federal government wants the Matanuska Susitna Borough to pay back $12.3 million in grants related to the ferry MV Susitna. Mat Su Borough manager John Moosey made the announcement Thursday at a press conference in Palmer.Mud-Slinging Ratchets Up In U.S. Senate Republican PrimaryLiz Ruskin, APRN – Washington, D.C.The two leading Republican U.S. Senate candidates are increasingly turning on each other. Last week, Dan Sullivan sent 50,000 mailers to Alaska voters alleging Mead Treadwell benefited financially from the Obama stimulus package, a bill he denounces on the campaign trail. This week Treadwell is fighting back, and he’s taking aim at the Ohio paint conglomerate Sullivan’s family runs.Murkowski Demands Begich Stop Using Her Image in Campaign AdsLiz Ruskin, APRN – Washington, D.C.A lawyer hired by Sen. Lisa Murkowski‘s re-election committee today sent a cease-and-desist letter to the campaign of Sen. Mark Begich. She is demanding that he quit using her name and image in his political ads.Teen Who Allegedly Struck, Killed Anchorage Cyclist Will Be Tried As An AdultAnne Hilleman, KSKA – AnchorageThe 17-year-old who hit and killed bicyclist Jeffery Dusenbury in July is being charged with manslaughter, a class A felony. Alexandra Anne Ellis is being tried as an adult. She’s also charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene without rendering assistance to Dusenbury. She will be arraigned Friday. Dusenbury was biking up 84th Avenue on Saturday, July 19 when he was struck by Ellis as she was backing up her pickup truck. He died shortly after. Neighbors witnessed the event.Anchorage Candidate Stares Down Residency DisputeAlexandra Gutierrez, APRN – AnchorageLast election cycle, state legislator Mia Costello’s opponents falsely alleged that she didn’t actually live in the Sand Lake neighborhood of Anchorage that she represents. Now, similar charges are being levied in the same district — but against a new candidate.Alaska Entrepreneurs Host Pitch Slam Aboard A Moving TrainAnne Hilleman, KSKA – AnchorageLocal Alaskan organizations are trying to promote entrepreneurship to diversify the economy. Last week, the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation hosted the second annual Pitch-on-a-Train competition. Five different Alaskan start-ups tried to convince a panel of judges that their ideas could make money.New Geotags May Shed Light on Auklet MigrationAnnie Ropiek, KUCB – UnalaskaEvery summer, thousands of tiny auklets flock to the Aleutian Islands to nest. But scientists don’t know where the seabirds go in the winter. That’s about to change, thanks to a group of researchers who’ve just returned from Buldir Island, east of Attu, and Gareloi, near Adak. They’ve been camped on the uninhabited islands since late May, outfitting crested and parakeet auklets with tracking tags for the first time.Juneau Whale Watching Captain Arrested for Allegedly Driving Boat IntoxicatedLisa Phu, KTOO – JuneauA text message from a whale watching boat in Juneau has led to the arrest of the captain on board. Lawrence Dupler, 67, was arrested today for allegedly driving a 52-foot tour boat while intoxicated. A breath sample revealed his blood alcohol level to be .115 percent, about 45 percent over the legal limit.
Following a review carried out by a nine-member selection committee, Erbology was chosen as the recipient of the final grant as the company demonstrated “stand-out sustainable and scalable growth”.Announcing the winner, Juan Ignacio Amat, vice president of nutrition for PepsiCo Western Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa, said: “We launched the Nutrition Greenhouse to partner with the best and the brightest entrepreneurs in the food and beverage nutrition space.“Our goal was to work with breakthrough brands that share our vision to deliver more convenient great tasting everyday nutrition products and we’ve achieved just that with these eight stand-out companies.“It was a very hard decision to choose only one to receive the final €100,000 grant but my sincere congratulations go to Irina and Victor Turcan of Erbology.“Their enthusiasm, drive and collaboration during the Nutrition Greenhouse programme have been exceptional and that shows in the results they have achieved.”Founded in London in 2015 by siblings Irina and Victor Turcan, Erbology aims to inspire people to embrace a balanced way of living and the company turns powerful plants that complement each other into wholesome foods, drinks, oils and recipe ingredients for everyday eating.Erbology founder Irina Turcan said: “We’re honoured to receive the final €100,000 PepsiCo Nutrition Greenhouse grant. We’ve achieved a great deal in the last six months working with our PepsiCo mentor to best utlise our initial €25,000 grant and the injection of a further €100,000 into our business is going to make a huge difference as we focus on accelerated growth in retail and e-commerce.“Thanks to everyone involved in this programme – it’s been a fantastic experience that’s really helped us understand how to focus hard on what is right for our brand and then to execute that activity flawlessly.”Erbology used the initial €25,000 grant and access to PepsiCo’s experts to help realise its vision of making plant ingredients more accessible. It also worked to create a new range of products, including energy balls and crackers, introducing 11 new launches, some of which have been listed on Ocado.PepsiCo said the initiative is part of the company’s commitment to innovation and to collaborate with the entrepreneurs and innovators who are helping to shape the food and beverage industry.In September, Chobani announced the second round of start-ups to take part in its incubator programme, which was unveiled last year as a means of encouraging new brands to “challenge big food companies”.Earlier in the year Fonterra unveiled a new online platform which encourages people to submit ideas for innovative ideas and new ways of doing business.Share with your network: Tags: acceleratorbusiness incubatorsErbologyEuropePepsiCo Erbology secures 100,000 euros through PepsiCo brand incubatorPosted By: News Deskon: December 13, 2017In: Beverage, Business, Financial, Food, Health, Industries, Innovation, SnacksPrintEmailUK start-up Erbology has received the final €100,000 grant in PepsiCo’s Nutrition Greenhouse incubator programme.The company, which offers nutrient-rich, plant-based products, such as oils, shots, crackers and energy balls, achieved more than 400% growth during the six-month initiative.Erbology was one of eight breakthrough nutrition food and drink companies chosen in June this year to participate in the Nutrition Greenhouse.For the past six months the companies worked closely with PepsiCo employees to tackle the key business challenges they faced, such as distribution, marketing or supply chain.Each company also received a €25,000 grant at the start of the programme to help them grow.Since being selected, all eight companies have seen impressive strategic expansion, brand evolution and revenue growth, according to PepsiCo. Overall retail sales of the collective group grew by nearly €10.7 million.The brand incubator finalists in full:Divingmar (Spain) – flavour-enhancing protein made from seaweedErbology (UK) – organic wholefoods made from powerful plantsFit Kitchen (UK) – high-protein premium ready mealsFrecious (Switzerland) – fruit and vegetable products to go with bread or crackersJimini’s (France) – snack products made from cricket flourNo Fairytales (the Netherlands) – tortillas made from root vegetablesTåpped (UK) – Nordic birch waterYour Superfoods (Germany) – superfood mixes for smoothies and yogurts