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New SAG-AFTRA earnings requirements
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Kim Fuller
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Joined: 29 Jan 2011
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Location: Portlandish, Oregon

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:09 pm    Post subject: New SAG-AFTRA earnings requirements Reply with quote

So - elimination of tiers, just one Plan with covered earnings increase of $8000 from the previous lower tier. Lovely.

I do find the reference to ACA as a consolation disingenuous. I'm as grateful as the next person that we were paying $600 a month on the ACA and not the $1200 a month we'd have paid without it. But it is nowhere near as good as SAG-AFTRA health insurance at approx $100 a month. They shouldn't have tried to sell that idea.

Edit: reading further, there are many other changes to the Plan in deductible, coverage, etc., none of them good.
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melissa eX
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2020 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I spent a couple of hours on the phone with them on Thursday. I'm attending one of the webinars tomorrow. Then I'll have more questions.
Just saw this - I'm surprised no one else has chimed in.
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Jack Daniel
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's difficult to know what our chimes would bring to the table. The new plan is much less generous, to be sure, but in all my union experience, which is considerable (I've worked with many private and public unions as a sales and accounts type in the past), I've never seen any plan with the extraordinarily low premiums that SAG has offered. Paying a few hundred bucks per quarter is astoundingly low, and even with the hiked rates, we will be way below par.

I am not a plan-change apologist. I would prefer to pay less, to not water down my plan offerings (the extent of which remains to be seen, but my assumption is that the abolition of tiers will lead to a middle-of-the-road setup), and to not see the (actually very common) exiling of spouse for whom any work-based coverage is available.

But I do know that rich plans must be paid for, just like pensions do, and that financial reality often rears its unpretty head.

I agree that the comparison to ACA coverage was ill-advised. We all know people on the bare-bones ACA plans, and their coverage is lousy, essentially covering minimal maintenance and catastrophe. This unfortunate "consolation" (well said, Kim) leaves a bad taste and makes one wonder how much else is being done disingenuously.

There is still much we don't know. The only thing we can be sure of is less, and for fewer people. The alternatives include a plan that basically starts charging for unhealthy behaviors and biometrics, and I'm trying to imagine the sound of thousands of actors raging against that.
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Jack Daniel
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Bruce
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Correct me if I'm wrong, but SAG/AFTRA health plans have much lower premiums than other union plans because the vast majority of union talent never reach minimum income levels and can't partake. All that money gets paid in and not taken out by the contributing members. With other unions, if you belong you've got insurance you can buy.

Nifty deal for the successful actors and a bit of scam for those not in the "top tier", or whatever they call it now.


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melissa eX
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll be on the meeting later today but one thing I find very disturbing is that senior performers and retirees taking their pension are now left with no insurance coverage at all when out of the country as Medicare won't cover anyone outside the US. In that case the plan acted as primary with Plan 1 benefits. Now anyone who spends a few months a year away is stuck with ZERO coverage.

The irony is medical care is so much less expensive elsewhere that it really wouldn't cost the plan much to cover them.

I also find the Extended Career Cobra appears to be just as disingenuous as was its predecessor Age and Service because half the union - the half of members who had had AFTRA insurance and not SAG insurance prior to the merger of the plans - is denied these benefits completely.

I'll get answers later today.
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Jack Daniel
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bruce, with all unions (at least so far as I'm aware), there are *always* minimums to qualify. For most unions, that means a minimum number of hours worked per month, with one's enrollment depending on meeting those minimum hours. So you are always helping to pay for your own insurance, which would be impossible if the union (and management) simply gave away insurance to anyone regardless of whether they worked 5 or 200 hours.
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Jack Daniel
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melissa eX
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Technically the producer is paying the contributions so it shouldn't affect the performer at all. (Of course we know that if you're converting work, this is money you have to bill to your client to cover, so you can either convert it - if you're confident you'll make enough to qualify - and qualify for the plan or keep it if you're fi-core and find your own health and pension plan. )

The fact is in order for the plan to break even on covering a performer they have to have earnings of about 100K or more. They should have raised the cap decades ago. Same as with Social Security. Just raise the damn cap.
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Jack Daniel
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Same is true for other unions--you pay a premium, but the company your work for is paying most of the contribution.

The negotiations for those costs are often spirited, to say the least.
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melissa eX
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm annoyed at Covid for forcing this meeting online. We can't be sure they'll read the questions we send that they don't want to answer. It's not like the meeting in 2017 when we were able to pin them down because we had the mic and when they non-answered we could keep pushing until we got an answer. Always on something they were trying to hide or distract away - like age and service. But I'll see how it goes.

Meeting is in half hour at 1:30 EDT. If anyone has anything they want me to ask let me know quickly.
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Jack Daniel
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Melissa. Probably like most folks, I'm interested in the changes to deductibles, copays, and other plan design items. Looking forward to any info you can share.
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Jack Daniel
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Frank F
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is the justification for this change? Financial or opportunity for advancement?

Those are the two questions which bring a plethora of others.

Frank F
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melissa eX
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basically Frank, it's because healthcare costs have skyrocketed - so something would have had to have been done anyway, but with COVID, the only performers working are VO's. Hollywood is basically shut down, so if actors aren't making money there are no employer contributions on their income into the plan. It's that simple, no money coming and and a ton going out.

The health plan is a self-insure. They don't make a profit and they don't use for-profit insurers. We just contract the Blue Cross network adn they do the admin, but BC is not the plan.

Jack, do you have the link to the changes on the website?
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Jack Daniel
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't, Melissa, as I understood they have not been released yet. Other than the changes we've cited here, I haven't seen anything about the actual factors I had mentioned above.
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melissa eX
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the link they sent us in the newsletter. It spells out the basics but leaves open questions.

https://www.sagaftraplans.org/health/2021-changes/overview
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Tre M.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was almost there...sigh. Welp.
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