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New combined SAG-AFTRA health plan to cover more than 65,000 members

SAG-AFTRA's two health plans will merge at the start of 2017. The new plan will make it easier for the union's members to receive healthcare coverage.
(Tommaso Boddi / WireImage)

SAG-AFTRA, Hollywood’s largest labor union, announced that its two health plans will combine at the start of 2017, a long-sought goal of leaders who pushed to merge the two formerly separate unions five years ago.

The merger will allow members of the union, which represents approximately 160,000 actors, broadcasters and other Hollywood entertainers, to combine covered earnings from all SAG-AFTRA contracts toward eligibility in the new health plan. The unified plan aims to cover more than 65,000 SAG-AFTRA members.

Although the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists merged into SAG-AFTRA in 2012, the unions’ health plans remained separate. In Wednesday’s statement, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said that the merged SAG-AFTRA health plan would eliminate issues that prevented union members from receiving healthcare coverage.

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“One of the biggest challenges many members faced was the inability to combine earnings from both SAG and AFTRA contracts to achieve eligibility,” Carteris said. “With one health plan we have eliminated that issue, making split earnings for performers a thing of the past. At the same time, we have positioned our health plan to be financially sustainable for all members for years to come.”

The unified health plan is modeled after the old SAG plan and will include two tiers of coverage, both of which will provide family coverage at qualifying levels.

Members will require $33,000 in earnings to be eligible for Plan 1 coverage, while $17,000 in earnings is required for Plan 2 coverage. In addition to family coverage, the new SAG-AFTRA health plan will offer mental health and substance abuse coverage in both Plan 1 and Plan 2.

tyler.hersko@latimes.com

@tylerhersko

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