New Potential Healthcare Advantage rule roils theater world

NEW YORK — The U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 theater actors and stage managers is beating a proposal that could increase eligibility criteria for members to obtain health maintenance through the pandemic.

The Equity-League Pension Health Fund on Thursday suggested hiking the number of months of employment required to qualify for just six months of healthcare policy from 11 months to 16 weeks. The suggestion would begin on Jan. 1, 2021. People working at least 12 months will probably be eligible for low-tier programs with greater co-payments and extra limitations.

The proposal has angered the Actors’ Equity Association, which has been lobbying for more accessibility to healthcare because of its members, particularly during the pandemic when members are from work. The Equity-League Benefit Funds is another organization.

“All of us understand that there isn’t any escaping the catastrophic loss of weeks of company contributions nationally and no choice besides making alterations to the strategy. However, I think that the finance had the duty and the fiscal reserves to take some opportunity to make better decisions,” explained Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association.

Most actors and stage directors have been not able to qualify for the vital months of the job for eligibility because theatres went dark in March. Equity represents actors and stage managers throughout the country.

In a declaration, the fund stated: “The last six months are one of the hardest any people has ever confronted. We recognize the psychological and financial burdens you’re facing.” It included: “After studying several distinct strategies, the Trustees have developed a solution that balances significant coverage together with all the long-term sustainability of this fund.”