In an embarrassing error, Uber reportedly sent some of its drivers and delivery workers an email last month in which the ride-sharing giant offered to pay for at least some of their health insurance costs. Two weeks later, Uber acknowledged a mistake had been made.
According to The Verge, an email on May 26 was sent with the “enticing” subject line, “It’s a great time to get health coverage.”
The email, sent to an “unspecified number of the company’s drivers and delivery workers” announced, “Uber can help cover your healthcare costs.”
“Drivers and couriers for Uber are classified as independent contractors, making them ineligible for employer-sponsored health insurance plans. For years, many of these workers have lobbied for more benefits and protections, only to face strong opposition from Uber,” the report continued. “So one can only imagine the shock from drivers who opened this email and saw an offer for subsidies ranging from $613.77 to $1,277.54, depending on the type of insurance plan they had and the amount of hours they worked each week.”
“If you need health coverage, there’s no better time to apply for a healthcare plan,” the email read. “More people than ever before will qualify for financial help with their health coverage. 4 out of 5 who enroll in a health plan can find a plan for $10 or less per month, with government financial assistance. You may be eligible for more savings and lower costs on health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.”
“After you submit your application, you have 30 days to enroll in a plan. Coverage starts the first day of the month after you enroll,” the email concluded, directing viewers to “Learn more.”
On June 9, Uber issued a correction. “On May 26th, we sent you two emails with the subject line ‘It’s a great time to get health coverage,’” the later email began.
“One of these two emails told you that Uber can help cover your healthcare costs. Unfortunately, we made a mistake sending this email to you, as this policy only applies to drivers and delivery people in California,” Uber continued. “If you signed up for a healthcare plan based on this information between May 26 and today and you want to cancel your plan, Uber will reimburse your first month’s premium.”
The email then provided the recipients with instructions for requesting such a refund.
“Our support teams are working directly with anyone who was affected and we regret the error,” said a spokesperson for Uber, according to VICE.
Vice added that Jake Stergos, an Uber driver in St. Louis, Missouri received both emails and does not have health insurance.
“It is genuinely galling that Uber took two weeks to send a clarification that we are not receiving health insurance,” Stergos said. “It’d be really nice if I could receive health insurance from Uber. I haven’t been to the doctor in years.”
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