Intuit Partners with Stride Health to Ease Self-Employed Workers’ Healthcare Challenges Andrew Karpie - October 29, 2015 6:32 AM | Categories: Analysis, Industry News, Services Procurement & Contingent Labor Management | Tags: L2, Technology Intuit and Stride Health announced a partnership that will give self-employed workers, like freelancers, gig and independent workers, a new way of accessing health insurance and financially managing healthcare costs. Access to health insurance has been a pain point, and often, a large obstacle for self-employed workers who do not enjoy the benefits of employer-sponsored health insurance. Workers will be supported by a unique combination of Intuit Self-Employed and Stride Health cloud solution offerings. The independent workforce is growing. How can procurement take advantage? Read: The Independent Workforce: A New Vein Of Opportunity for Spend Visibility and Savings? From a contingent workforce procurement standpoint, the partnership can be viewed as another development in the independent-worker-facing solution ecosystem, where Intuit appears to be assuming a leading role. This is important because such a worker-support-services ecosystem is essential for the continuing growth of the independent workforce, and it is an indicator of what may be unanticipated acceleration. The Partners Intuit is a very well-known business, so we don’t need to report very much about the larger company. However, it bears repeating that in mid-January, Intuit introduced QuickBooks Self-Employed, designed to meet the administrative needs of independent workers (accounting, tax records and filings). Before the end of January, Intuit announced a QuickBooks Self-Employed partnership with the payments enabler Stripe, which has become embedded in many of the new on-demand platform companies, such as Uber. The Stripe partnership clearly signaled Intuit’s move toward the on-demand platform businesses and their independent workers. In fact, within just two days of the Stripe announcement in January, Intuit announced a partnership with Uber (a Stripe customer) to offer QuickBooks Self-Employed to Uber drivers. Other QuickBooks Self-Employed partnerships ensued in the following months, and the reported number of paid users was already surpassing 25,000. In mid-September, Intuit closed the loop in the on-demand space with the introduction of Workforce, a human capital management solution for on-demand platform businesses. Now today’s announced partnership with Stride Health brings Intuit back to expanding the services provided to independent workers through QuickBooks Self-Employed. Stride Health is a platform-based services company that enables people to find their optimal health insurance plans, manage their healthcare under those plans and access other healthcare-related information and services. The company, founded in 2013, has raised about $28 million in private equity funding in two rounds. Stride Health has clearly become focused on the independent workforce. Its website proclaims: “Benefits built for independents. Simple tools to help you save money and manage your healthcare,” and ”You work on-demand. So do our advisors. Leave life's little hassles to us when it comes to coverage, care, and tax guidance.” The Intuit-Stride Health Partnership According to the press release on the Intuit and Stride Health news, ”the partnership integrates Stride Health’s personalized approach to managing health insurance, healthcare and compliance within QuickBooks Self-Employed, which helps freelancers manage business and personal finances and helps gets them ready for taxes throughout the year.” Echoing our conversation yesterday with Alex Chriss, Intuit’s vice president and general manager of the Self-Employed Solutions business unit, this partnership and integration is the next step for QuickBooks Self-Employed: to provide self-employed workers a level of stability and predictability enjoyed by traditional employees — in this case accessing and managing health insurance and healthcare. According to the press release, some of the benefits brought to self-employed workers include: Being able to easily enter necessary information to check eligibility, enter basic information to get a highly personalized recommendation for a tailor-made, cost-effective health plan. In fact, some the information required (such as income, etc.) can be automatically transferred from QuickBooks Self-Employed. Premium/deduction information is passed back from Stride Health to QuickBooks Self-Employed to be incorporated into a worker’s financial management and planning and tax filing. A “Healthcare Profile” portal can be accessed within QuickBooks Self-Employed allowing workers to track healthcare deductions, premiums and, in the future, contributions to a health savings account. Helps you take advantage of healthcare-related tax deductions and tax credits provided by the government entities to fund coverage. After enrollment, workers can receive notifications to pay monthly premiums before losing coverage as well as information such as when a doctor is no longer with a plan or when the cost of a prescription drug changes. Workers also have access to dedicated advisors year-round who can help navigate health plans and understand how save money on taxes. According to Noah Lang, CEO and cofounder of Stride Health, the new offering supports a “leveling of the playing field with traditional employment, but also a responsibility to ensure they’re protected and compliant.” The QuickBooks Self-Employed and Stride Health integration brings together a unified set of capabilities and information that makes it simple for independent workers to manage the (at a minimum, onerous) task of trying to obtain, pay for and understand health insurance and the benefits that come with it. Chriss told us health insurance and healthcare decisions cannot be made in a vacuum, but must be evaluated in the context of an individual’s finances and tax obligations. Chriss also pointed out that in addition to being advantageous for workers, the services we are talking about are also advantageous to on-demand platforms that cannot provide these benefits to workers in order to steer clear of classification issues. The Spend Matters View The integration between QuickBooks Self-Employed and Stride Health is yet another important component put in place to create a complete independent workforce ecosystem, from management capabilities for businesses and support services for independent workers. It’s actually startling to see the latter emerging so quickly — but without it, the independent workforce would remain more of theory than a reality. We understand from our discussions with Chriss that this is just the beginning of future steps to deliver additional capabilities and services to workers through QuickBooks Self-Employed and to knit together an entire ecosystem. Almost all of the companies that are coming together with Intuit are well-funded San Francisco Bay Area businesses, and it’s clear that Intuit is currently focusing on building an ecosystem to enable the fast-growing and somewhat “unruly” on-demand/gig sector (which makes sense). That said, QuickBooks Self-Employed can be valuable not only to gigsters, but also to true freelancers and independent professionals; what’s more, the building of an ecosystem in the on-demand/gig sector can serve as a blueprint for the development of ecosystems in other independent workforce sectors (a core competency of Intuit). For contingent workforce procurement practitioners who may be doubtful about the feasibility of independent workforce as a source of talent or consider it a development that is far off in the future, looking somewhat microscopically at the underlying processes at work (and the large players entering the space, like Intuit and LinkedIn), they may want to start revising expectations — or have their eyes examined. Want to learn more about the opportunities present in engaging freelance and independent workers? Read our recent complimentary research brief: The Independent Workforce: A New Vein Of Opportunity for Spend Visibility and Savings? Please follow Andrew Karpie on Twitter @andrewkarpie Related ArticlesLinkedIn Releases ProFinder Pilot, Quietly Enters Freelance/Independent Workforce MarketUpwork and Freelancers Union Release ‘Freelancing in America: 2015’ Study ResultsFreelancer Management Systems: The Origin and Destiny of a SpeciesThe Washington Post Launches WIP for Freelancers Discuss this: Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.