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The SAG-AFTRA Health Plan Trustees have unanimously approved a calendar-quarter extension of health coverage for certain eligible participants who may lose coverage on October 1, 2023. This extension represents jobs that may have been lost in May and June of this year due to the writers’ union strike. The WGA has been on strike since May 2, and the SAG-AFTRA since July 14.
“This will be a great relief for our members,” said Fran Drescher, President of SAG-AFTRA. “I think it is important that we never forget that we are in contract negotiations with AMPTP and under no circumstances should the health and well-being of the members and their families be used against them because of this strike. It is long overdue for AMPTP to return to the negotiating table with a fresh perspective on their integral relationship with the SAG-members. AFTRA The ball is in their court to do the right thing on behalf of the performers and to accept the inevitable paradigm shift graciously and generously.
“It is a shame that studios and broadcasters have put so many SAG-AFTRA members in a position where they have to worry,” said SAG-AFTRA’s national executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, who also acts as trustee of the plan. About basic necessities – such as whether they will stay covered by their health plan. The Board of Trustees’ approval of this extension for some of those affected by AMPTP’s intransigence will help alleviate some of this concern. However, the solution we are all hoping for is the return of AMPTP to the negotiating table.
Eligible participants must lose coverage based on earnings or on a days basis on October 1, 2023, and have at least $22,000 in reported earnings, or 85 alternate days, from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. These requirements apply. The discounted is only for the continuation of the current active coverage and reflects a decrease that represents less earnings opportunities during the months of May and June.
Participants who have lost active coverage but are not eligible for an extension will receive a COBRA offer from the plan. COBRA’s Premium Payment Assistance and other resources that can help members find affordable coverage may be available through their state or through an entertainment industry charity.
The SAG-AFTRA health plan is administered independently of the union.
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