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Healthy Priorities - From The Chief Operating Officers

Posted By Vance Van Petten & Susan Sprung, Tuesday, October 30, 2018

When we talk to PGA members about their primary concerns, one of their most consistent answers, time and again, has been HEALTH CARE—its availability and cost.

Even for those of us with access to relatively affordable health insurance, the legislative battle around the topic has left many producers uncertain whether that coverage will remain effective or affordable. For those without insurance altogether, the promise of reasonably priced health coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been complicated—if not broken outright—by the political wrangling around the law. Now more than ever, our members are hoping the PGA will be able to offer solutions.

Safe to say, if there was an easy fix for this situation, the Producers Guild would have implemented it already. Our non-union status means that the PGA has not been able to underwrite a guaranteed access plan like our colleagues receive through their union memberships.

That being said, you need to know that many PGA members do have access to employer-paid health coverage, though that coverage is conditional rather than guaranteed. For many of you who work on studio motion pictures or broadcast or premium cable television series, the “non-affiliate agreement” with the west coast office of IATSE can provide access to first-rate, employer-paid coverage through the Motion Picture Industry Plan (MPIP). This coverage is available only for certain job titles and requires recipients to work a minimum number of hours, but if you qualify, the PGA will provide guidance for completing the paperwork and getting approval from your employer.

For those of you who don’t meet the conditions to qualify for the MPIP coverage, our Guild is continuing to research options for you. One such option is available through Open Health, a company oriented towards health care solutions for workers in the entertainment industry. Open Health offers plans which are ideally suited for small production companies. If you’re an employer who owns a company with three or more employees (one of whom can be yourself), we strongly encourage you to call Open Health at the number on the opposite page, and ask about their offerings. In fact, the PGA was sufficiently impressed with Open Health’s coverage that this is the health insurance we offer to our own office staff.

If neither of the above options applies to you, consider contacting The Actor’s Fund, which has helped professionals in the entertainment industry—not just actors!—find affordable health coverage. While plans obtained through The Actors Fund and Open Health are self-pay plans rather than employer-paid plans, they may give PGA members better value than they would otherwise find on their own, and can provide assistance in navigating plans provided via the ACA.

The updated chart on the opposite page summarizes this information and provides important contact numbers. It will be reprinted in every forthcoming issue of Produced By. Meanwhile the PGA is pushing forward with its research as health insurance offerings continue to evolve. We hope that someday soon, we’ll be able to promote a plan that guarantees health benefits to every PGA member at a fair price. We know what a priority this is for so many of you; that makes it our priority as well.

 

  

Motion Picture Industry Plan

Available to:

Producers/Produced By, Executive Producers, Associate Producers.

Who:

• Work for an AMPTP signatory

• Work on theatrical motion pictures, prime-time network series, prime-time, first-run syndicated series

• Utilize a West Coast IA Crew

• Are credited with 600 hours of work over the past six months. (Assume a 60-hour work week.)

Once qualified, participants must be credited with 400 hours of work in the subsequent six-month period to extend coverage. 

CONTACT:

Your payroll or labor relations department. 


Open Health MEWA plan

Available to:

Employers and employees of small production companies.
 

Who:

• Work at a company with a minimum of three employees. Company owner may count as an employee if s/he draws a salary from the company.

CONTACT:

(866) 491-4001

Request information about MEWA (Multiple Employer Welfare Association) plans.


The Actor’s Fund

Available to:

All professionals who work in the entertainment industry.

The Actor’s Fund is the official organization representing the Affordable Care Act to the entertainment industry.

CONTACT:

(800) 221-7303  (New York)

(888) 825-0911 (Los Angeles)

Request a consultation to discuss individual plans available on the open market.

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