Creators/Artists/Writers Guilds and Unions to Lose Health Insurance Coverage Plans Under Obamacare
File under good news/bad news. Earlier today when I posted a link to a website about this story on my FB page, some folks could not believe the story, and dismissed it as conservative politics ranting. So, I will link to NBC News instead.
I received notification from The Entertainment Group Insurance Trust that my existing insurance – would terminate December 31. TEIGIT has administered plans for sole proprietors, small businesses and members of participating arts and entertainment associations since 1965.
“We will not have other plans to offer you,” TEIGIT noted in a follow-up email. “No other brokers will have alternate options available.”
With New York state’s health insurance exchange not yet open and no way to shop immediately for a new plan, I felt the momentary rush of panic. What would I find to replace my corporate-like health plan, which had covered me for both in-network and out, with a low deductible. Would it be as good, and what would it cost?
If your health care plan fails to meet ACA rules (which you can read about here), your plan is getting dumped.
Exactly why your particular health insurance plan is getting the boot is anybody’s guess, but, apparently, one of those rules has to do with coverage across state lines, which many union and guild plans offer.
The College Art Association website posted a notice this month: “The New York Life Insurance Company recently informed CAA that it will no longer offer catastrophic healthcare coverage previously available to CAA members.” Why? Because it “is no longer an option” for “associations whose members reside in different states” to provide such coverage. These members will have to seek help from their home states’ newly formed Obamacare exchanges.
A direct link to the College Art Association statement is here.
Chances are, you will be able to get decent coverage under the new health care plan, which can be purchased at several levels of coverage, with increasing levels of cost.
(Also, I can’t believe how many people think Obamacare is free health care. If you don’t purchase a plan, you pay an annual penalty. Which ‘aint the end of the world, but still isn’t free. You can get Medicaid if you earn less than $15,800 per year, but only in some states.)
As I see it, there are two big issues here for the creative community. Well, OK, three, since the big issue is that some people who never had care are about to be able to get it. Which is groovy. So, moving on.
Some of you are about to lose your coverage, and don’t actually know what you are buying or where to get it yet. The new insurance purchase system is supposed to be up and running on October 1, giving you time to get or change your coverage before implementation of the new plan on January 1, 2014. But if I know folks in the creative community, most of them who have guild coverage don’t even know they’re about to lose it.
Part of the reason for the ACA rules is to keep some of those very bad insurance companies from selling people cheap health care coverage that doesn’t really pay out when someone actually gets sick. I’m all for that. But, apparently, one of the other rules is about in-state coverage, which I don’t get, but then, I don’t write these rules.
Now, for all the people who are going to be able to pay less for health care, this is all obviously great news. According to this article, my insurer is canceling many plans for not meeting ACA minimums, but I’ve heard nothing, so I assume I still have a plan. My personal concerns aside, I’m posting this for all of you out there who may not be aware your plan is about to get nixed.
I do have a final concern that is probably not getting as much airplay as it should, and that is the effect on the trade guilds and unions. Many people join these guilds to get access to health care. Truth is, without the health care benefit, I probably would never have joined any guild, ever. So, I wonder about the recruiting power of many of these orgs when they cannot provide this major benefit.
My concern is that this means less enrollment and less teeth for guilds and unions for creators which are already under strain in these tough financial times. Since our orgs are our only political power, this could have serious ramifications in future.
Anyway, check with your org to see if you still have care, and if you’re losing it on January 1st, you need to replace it on your own dime and on your own time.