A nonprofit group that serves self-employed individuals in the New York area has used to grants to set up an insurance company.

Freelancers Union, New York, says it has received $17 million in contributions from a group of foundations and funds.

The group is using the grants to start Freelancers Insurance Company Inc., New York, a for-profit insurer that will start by selling insurance to the 19,000 Freelancers Union members in the New York area.

Eventually, Freelancers Union hopes to make coverage available to all 93,000 U.S. members.

The group says it now offers health coverage in 30 states through Golden Rule Life Insurance Company, Indianapolis, a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn.

Freelancers Insurance has arranged for plan members to have access to the BlueCard PPO provider network, a network organized by carriers that participate in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Chicago.

Open enrollment for Freelancers Insurance plans started Nov. 11 and will end Dec. 31.