SAG-AFTRA’s health plan announced changes that would see premiums for members increase and rules around eligibility tighten. The changes are, according to a memo sent to union members Wednesday night, in response to projected deficits in the tens of millions of dollars for 2020 and 2021.
“Without restructuring the Health Plan, we are projecting a deficit of $141 million this year and $83 million in 2021 and, by 2024, the Health Plan is projected to run out of reserves,” the memo said. “We must prevent this from happening.”
According to the memo, increasing healthcare costs and the shutdown of the entertainment industry have contributed to the health plan’s dire situation. A newsletter accompanying the memo, and mailed to union members, details the changes, which will include new eligibility requirements and the combination of Plan I and Plan II into one healthcare plan.
One of the most significant changes appears to be in how spouses of union members are covered. According to the newsletter, if a union member’s spouse is offered health insurance by their employer, said spouse must accept that coverage and move off the SAG-AFTRA plan.
The newsletter also details new premiums. Coverage for one participant on the plan will increase to $375 per quarter; for one participant and one dependent, the premium will be $531 per quarter; premiums for one participant and two or more dependents will be $747 per quarter.
The combination of the two plans eliminates the lower-threshold tier-two plan, which was available to members who made at least $18,040 in a year. Gone too is the upper tier plan, with its $35,020 threshold. Under the new combined plan, members would need to make $25,950 to qualify. But the change means that workers who would qualify this year for insurance under Plan II would not be eligible next year at the same income level.
“We understand that no one welcomes the disruption of changing health coverage — even if similar, less costly alternatives are available — but it’s important to note that those participants who lose Plan coverage may still have good, affordable health insurance options,” the health plan memo continued.