Will be available to members, franchised talent agents nationwide

SAG-AFTRA is launching a Health Mart program for its members and franchised talent agents nationwide, aimed at providing additional insurance and coverage for members who do not currently qualify for the SAG-Producers Health Plan or AFTRA Health Plan.

The performers union said the Health Mart site has been created in conjunction with Marsh U.S. Consumer, a broker and administrator, and will provide insurance in health, Medicare supplement, dental, home, auto, life and long-term care.

A SAG-AFTRA spokeswoman said that Health Mart is a legacy program from the Screen Actors Guild, which merged in March with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

“In light of hardships caused by rising health care costs, we are excited about providing this one-stop online shop for health insurance options that we believe will prove beneficial to our members and to agents,” said David White, SAG-AFTRA’s national exec director.

SAG-AFTRA chief administrative officer and general counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said, “We are thrilled to be able to extend this to our franchised agents as well, and it is another example of the importance we attach to the relationship we have formed with our agents across the country.”

The union also said that earlier this year, it negotiated an agreement with Aflac to allow interested members and franchised agents access to supplemental insurance products at competitive rates and reduced underwriting.

In March, SAG and AFTRA members approved a merger of the two performers unions after proponents of the merger touted the combined SAG-AFTRA as having more power than the individual unions and asserted that combining the unions would be a first step toward combining the plans — and a move toward solving the problem of performers not qualifying for coverage under separate SAG and AFTRA health and pension plans.

Trustees of the SAG and AFTRA health and retirement plans took the first official step to explore the possibility of merging the separate plans, meeting for more than four hours on Aug. 11 to discuss how such a move could be handled logistically.

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