Musicians, actors and other entertainers are beginning to either raise a brow or give a nod to the Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare. Due to these individuals working mostly on an independent contract basis, few will have the mandate to receive affordable healthcare plans from their employers. Also, since many are contracted through union, they will be forced to pay extremely high union insurance dues or purchase plans independently. The increase in fees could result in the lack of ability for the artist to focus solely on their creative work, becoming forced to find necessary additional sources of income. America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) group recently decided to give an extended premium deadline option to those who choose plans by the end of the year.
According to The Future of Music Coalition, 43% of creative artists and 53% of musicians lack health insurance. The survey covers musicians as well as visual artists, filmmakers, actors and other creative professionals. This number is almost three times higher than the national average. The FMC has also realized that one factor causing these high rates of uninsured entertainers is due to the lack of education and understanding. They have provided many resources for artists to become more educated, including 24 hour hotlines and local seminars.
TEIGIT Vice President, David Rubin explains his stance on Obamacare: “In The Entertainment Industry Group Insurance Trust case, this insurance is limited to sole proprietors who are members of affiliated guilds/associations/unions, and are working at least 20 hours a week in the fields of art and entertainment.” The TEIGIT website also states that 'all individual and/or Sole Proprietor Health Insurance will terminate January 1, 2014. This includes plans acquired as Members of our Affiliated Associations.' For those in California, New York, or other major cities who are curious about what is, or is not available to you, visit their website for more information.
The AHIP trade group stated for those who select a plan by Dec. 23 will now have until Jan. 10 to pay their first month's premium, instead of the previous Dec. 15 and Dec. 31 respective deadlines set by the government. AHIP represents more than 90 percent of health insurance companies, including the major national carriers and nearly all of the BlueCross BlueShield plans.
There is no question that Obamacare will affect everyone, regardless of political views and industry affiliation. It is a proven fact that health insurance and employment are always uniquely entangled with each other. Musicians and other artists are essentially small businesses. Part of running a successful business outside of proper marketing, is making sure that yourself and those around you are provided with the right information pertaining to their livelihood and taking care of themselves. Check out some of the links below to help see where the health care form may impact you, and resources available to help you choose the best option.