SAG-AFTRA Health Plan Cuts Premiums In Half Due To COVID-19 Crisis; “Relief Is On The Way” Union Leaders Say

The SAG-AFTRA Health Plan is cutting premiums in half for tens of thousands of participants for the next three months. The move is effective today, “in response to the COVID-19 emergency,” the Plan said today.

Participants, except those receiving “Senior Performers” coverage, will save between $450-$855 over the three months, depending on the type of coverage, and those on COBRA will save between $460-$1,168 a month.

“Relief is on the way,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris and national executive director David White told their members today. “The SAG-AFTRA Health Plan has announced it is temporarily reducing premiums by 50% during the second quarter.”

“In response to the COVID-19 emergency,” the Plan said today on its website, “the Health Plan is temporarily reducing premiums by 50% during the second quarter (April, May and June) only, for all eligible Plan I, Plan II and COBRA participants covered by the Plan as of March 1, 2020. This change is effective on April 1, 2020.”

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It notes, however, that “If you have Senior Performers coverage, including Senior Performers with Active coverage, you will not receive a premium reduction.” Those with this coverage with no spouse or with spouse age 65 and over pay between $60-$187 a month, while those with spouses under $65 pay $120-187 a month. The Plan didn’t say why they’re excluded from the relief, which would have saved them between $30-$94 a month.

Here’s the link to the Plans’ site on the changes in premiums.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our lives and effectively shut down work for so many of us,” Carteris and White told their members. “Please know that through all of this, the union’s core functions, including residuals processing and contract enforcement, continue. In March alone we processed 312,000 residuals checks totaling $73 million.”

Here’s their full message.

“We are writing today,” they said, “with news of relief efforts from our union, the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan, the federal government, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, and SAG-AFTRA Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund.”

Other elements of the union’s relief efforts include “targeted” dues relief for members in the form of a deadline extension, and a newly formed COVID-19 Relief Fund that will be administered by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and SAG-AFTRA Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund.

It’s open to eligible SAG-AFTRA members who have been impacted by the pandemic. It covers members who are in an emergency financial crisis related to COVID-19 to help with basic expenses such as rent, mortgage, utilities, medical bills, and other essentials.

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