All Things oDesk
June 14, 2010 by Mollie Carter

Being an independent contractor comes with a lot of benefits, including the freedom to work when and where you want.  Until now, those benefits didn’t usually include affordable health insurance options.

But, that all changes today.  oDesk is now making health insurance available to all of our U.S.-based users. On behalf of our members, we have negotiated pricing, plan offerings and a streamlined approval process that outstrip other plans generally available to individuals.

“By providing access to health coverage options, we’re lowering a key barrier faced by many people that aspire to the freelance lifestyle, and enabling them to focus on building successful careers.”  – Gary Swart, oDesk CEO

There are 3 types of plans available. For more details see:

  • Wellness plan – day-to-day health care plan with guaranteed issuance, low deductible and up to an annual maximum benefit of $20,000 including hospitalization.
  • Catastrophic plan – coverage for major medical care, including hospitalization with an annual maximum benefit of $1 Million
  • Comprehensive plan – combine the Wellness and Catastrophic plans to get comprehensive coverage.

Life insurance with critical illness coverage is also available with no physical exam as an additional option on any of the 3 offered plans.

oDesk is committed to supporting both companies and individuals in the new, emerging “contract economy”.  Access to affordable, quality health insurance is an important ingredient to building successful, long-term contract careers, and we’re proud to be taking the lead in offering these types of benefits options to our users.

You can read about the plans at or you can call 888-895-2440 to speak directly with a benefits consultant (available 8am to 6pm PDT).

Got feedback for us on the plans? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or share them with our Community!

Mollie Carter

Director of Freelancer Marketing

As director of freelancer marketing, Mollie Carter brings to Elance-oDesk extensive marketing experience in the Internet and software industry. As a senior manager at PayPal, she was part of the founding team for PayPal’s first telesales organization, helping to build the team to an astounding $50M in annual revenue. While director at PayPal, Mollie led the Merchant Acquisition Marketing and Consumer Engagement Marketing divisions, developing… read more

  • Matthew

    I noticed there is a “Lifetime Maximum” of 1 Million dollars. I thought that lifetime caps were abolished under the new health care plan. Is this insurance company US based, or are they getting around the new rules because they are based overseas or something like that?

    • Erica

      Matthew, please contact our benefits team at the number listed in the post to address your questions about lifetime maximums.

  • SandyJS

    Wow! Way to go! That’s an impressive business decision which will provide a real win-win-win to all parties. Kudos on the forward thinking!

    I’m hoping that your next move will be to expand that offering to other countries. As a Canadian, I’ll be watching with hopeful anticipation.

  • Dave Wargen

    I feel lucky I live in the United Kingdom. Our national health service is wonderful.

  • Ramkumar Sundarakalatharan

    Thanks Oxy Kay for your bit of advice…

  • Chris

    First – thank you to oDesk for provide greater value to both providers and employers using the oDesk system. As an employer this provides yet reason to use odesk – for off and onshore staff. I want to provide a the best possible work environment for my team (ft and contractors) but insurance is difficult and expense to obtain, and usually will only cover FT staff. oDesk offers an easy to implement and pay for solution.

    Secondly, I’d like to apologize to the non-US members for some of the comments on this board. It is sad to see how people can speak so knowingly of people in other countries – countries they’ve never visited and people they have never met.

    I don’t know why some people (Americans?) find it so hard to understand that people the world over have pretty much the same aspirations: to have self-respect, a semblance of safety and security, to find love have a family, to provide for that family, and to grow personally and professionally.

    As such, I welcome oDesk’s announcement and would encourage oDesk to continue to search for ways to provide similar benefits in the locales that provide the greatest number of oDesk contractors.

  • Oxy Kay

    don’t be silly! if you’re outside US and need insurance – get it from local provider. How do you think odesk will help you out with this? Do you think health care is the same level in US and India or Pakistan? I don’t think so!
    3d world countries medicine is pathetic, you can die anytime because your doctor knows nothing, why civilized insurance company will be interested to cover it. they will bankrupt the same month :)

  • Oncita Go

    That is great! I hope Odesk will extend the benefits to all providers/employees – as a Filipino employee I am thankful for the great opportunities, but will be more grateful if these benefits are extended to us. Our country is poor and we will appreciate if we can also avail of the quality health insurance.

  • ambreen tariq

    quite right Ramkumar, as i am also looking for that type of benefits to me and to my collegues who are out-side the USA. i think, as the odesk is giving us payoneer cards, to withdraw money from atm machine what ever our country is, so they will for sure plan something for us too in health insurance policy.

  • Susan Reid

    Fabulous idea and I hope many providers are able to take advantage of the hc benefits.
    I’m curious what response has been thusfar.
    Also curious, based on years of being unable to get health benefits for my self-employed husband here in the US, how the success rate is going.
    Are oDesk providers trying to sign up only to be declined based on the health questions?
    Any statistics you have to share would be most welcome.
    Oh– and THANK YOU, oDesk, for this super (in concept, anyway) benefit.

  • rmorandantejr

    I am also looking forward that those benefit will also be available to all members no matter what is their country… Especially us here in the philippines where life is hard as a rat.

  • Avdi Grimm

    This is amazing. Game-changing, even.

  • Ramkumar Sundarakalatharan

    Are there any plans to extend this coverage to overseas contractors as-well in future?