There's no easy way to say this: You are being misled.
Since the changes to the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan were announced in August, there has been a deliberate public and social media campaign spreading misinformation and fear.
We understand that change, myths and rumors have led to anger and frustration. We also know that truth is the best balm in uncertain times. Here are five facts you need to know about changes to the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan:
Without significant changes, the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan's reserves would have vanished for ALL participants by 2024. Ask yourself this: Why would the Health Plan want to reduce coverage for members if there was any other option?
Senior Performers are not losing their healthcare coverage; they will continue to have Medicare as their primary insurance, as they do today. Plus, they will receive a stipend under the new Health Reimbursement Account Plan to use for supplemental coverage of their choosing through Via Benefits. For many Senior Performers, this will mean comparable coverage at a comparable price.
Spouses aren't getting 'kicked off' the plan. If you meet eligibility requirements and your spouse DOES NOT have access to their own employer-sponsored health plan, your spouse can still be covered by the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan. If they are covered by their own employer-sponsored health plan, they will also be eligible for secondary coverage under the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan.
There's a new reduced cost COBRA safety net available specifically designed to help ease the transition for many participants. Those who qualify will be eligible to maintain their SAG-AFTRA Health Plan coverage with significantly reduced COBRA premiums - at only 20% of the regular COBRA premium - for 12-18 months after their current eligibility expires. For detailed information, please visit sagaftraplans.org/health.
The idea that premium increases or higher employer contributions alone could have fixed the Health Plan is simply wrong. The root of the problem is the exorbitant cost of healthcare - a problem made worse by our industry's production shutdown due to the pandemic crisis. The cost of healthcare remains a top issue for Americans, and the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan is not immune from this and other economic forces. Structural changes were required to put the Plan on a secure footing now and into the future.
We understand that change is not easy, but it's crucial that you have the facts. As we have learned in our country and on social media, not all claims are factual. Always check the credibility of your sources. If you have questions about changes to the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan, please visit the FAQ section at sagaftraplans.org/health for verified, accurate information and updates.