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SAG-AFTRA Health Plan Trustees 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 Guild strike. The WGA has been on strike since May 2, and SAG-AFTRA since July 14.
“This will come as a huge relief to 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 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 new perspective on their integral relationship with SAG members- AFTRA.The ball is in their court to do the right thing on behalf of the performers and accept the inevitable paradigm shift with grace and generosity.
“It is a shame that studios and broadcast companies have put many SAG-AFTRA members in a position where they have to worry,” said SAG-AFTRA national executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, who also serves as trustee for the plan. About basic necessities – like whether they will remain 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 earnings-based or days-based coverage 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 Discounted only for continuation of existing active coverage and reflects lower earnings opportunities during May and June.
Participants who lose active coverage but are not eligible for an extension will receive a COBRA offer from the plan. COBRA 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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