Citing the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, trustees of the Directors Guild of America – Producer Pension and Health Plans have created a premium-free limited benefit health plan for members who lost coverage following the production shutdown.

The new plan, dubbed the Bronze Plus Plan, will provide coverage for the period of Jan. 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021 only, as an alternative to COBRA Continuation Coverage. It is available to those participants for whom the health plan is their primary coverage, and who lost their Earned Active Coverage on June 30, Sept. 30 or Dec. 31st, 2020.

The new plan includes the same level of benefits as the DGA Bronze COBRA Plan, as well as prescription drug coverage. The plan also said qualifying participants will have the choice of choosing either the premium-free Bronze Plus Plan or COBRA Continuation Coverage by paying the applicable premium amount. To qualify, a participant much have the DGA-Producer Health Plan at their primary coverage.

The trustees have approved three rounds of premium-free COBRA coverage in April, June and August to participants whose active coverage terminated during the pandemic and extended the total period of premium-free COBRA coverage through Dec. 31, 2020.

The DGA represents more than 18,000 members. Eligibility for the health plan, which is operated jointly by reps of the DGA and management, is based on meeting earnings thresholds for the four previous quarters.

On-location film permits for the Los Angeles area grew by 24% in October over September as productions staged a moderate recovery amid the ongoing pandemic, the agency reported earlier this month. FilmLA said current activity levels have stabilized at just under 47% percent of what analysts would expect under normal filming conditions. Local production has been on a slow upswing since the September agreement between unions and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on industry-wide safety protocols.