Uber said it would help pay drivers' healthcare - then withdrew the offer 2 weeks later, calling it a 'mistake'

Uber said it would help pay drivers' healthcare - then withdrew the offer 2 weeks later, calling it a 'mistake'
Uber has retracted an accidental offer to subsidize drivers' health insurance outside CaliforniaPhoto by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • Uber retracted an offer to subsidize its US drivers' healthcare costs, in an email shared on Twitter.
  • Uber said it had made a "mistake" - the offer only applied to California-based drivers.
  • The company said it would reimburse drivers for their first month's premium if they had signed up.

Uber has retracted an offer to subsidize most drivers' health insurance plans, saying it had made a "mistake."

The company sent workers an email two weeks ago that said "Uber can help cover your healthcare costs," as reported by The Verge. "If you need health coverage, there's no better time to apply for a healthcare plan," the email said.

But Uber backtracked on Wednesday, emailing drivers saying the original offer was only meant for California drivers.

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Podcaster Ed Burmila shared the new email on Twitter. Burmila told Gizmodo that he drove for Uber part-time.

"On May 26th, we sent you two emails with the subject line 'It's a great time to get health coverage,'" the Wednesday email said. "Unfortunately we made a mistake sending this email to you, as this policy only applies to drivers and delivery people in California."


Another Uber driver shared the same email on a Reddit thread for Uber drivers. Others commented that they had received the same message.

The company said in the email that it would reimburse drivers' first-month premiums if they had signed up for an insurance plan between receiving the first and second emails.

Uber's drivers are hired as independent contractors, meaning the company does not have to sponsor their health insurance. In 2020, Uber and similar "gig economy" companies opposed a California-state law that would have required they treat drivers as employees. Uber eventually co-authored and helped pass Proposition 22, a law allowing drivers to remain as contractors, but with some concessions.

One of those was for gig-work companies to pay into a common fund to help subsidize workers' healthcare in the state.

Uber and Burmila did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.