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SAG-AFTRA Health Plan Offers Reduction in COBRA Premiums Amid Backlash

Going through a barrage of criticism over eligibility cuts, the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan has introduced it will likely be providing an 80% discount in COBRA premiums for a lot of members who will now not qualify for protection beginning Oct. 1

Greater than 17,000 individuals have requested trustees of the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan to overturn lately introduced modifications that may minimize eligibility for the plan on Jan. 1. In lower than a month, the  petition at change.org — titled “Overturn the Modifications Made to the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan” — famous that the modifications are being imposed amid the COVID-19 pandemic and characterised them as “unconscionable.”

The well being plan introduced in an e mail it despatched to members on Aug. 12 that it could increase the earnings ground for eligibility from these incomes $18,040 a yr to $25,950, efficient Jan. 1. Trustees mentioned on the time that with out restructuring, the plan was projecting a deficit of $141 million this yr and $83 million in 2021.

The plan, which is operated by trustees of the performers union and the business, mentioned Wednesday that the trustees are dedicated to serving to as many members maintain their well being protection as is sustainable.

“Although obligatory to save lots of the Plan, we acknowledge that manufacturing shutdown and the modifications to the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan eligibility necessities are painful for a lot of of our members,” mentioned SAG-AFTRA Health Plan CEO Michael Estrada. “With this in thoughts, the Plan Trustees requested us to develop the broadest reduced-premium COBRA aid potential so members and their households can maintain their high-quality protection at a extremely backed price.”

Some members and their households who will lose earned protection on Oct. 1, Jan. 1 and April 1, can maintain their protection if they’ve no less than $13,000 in earnings (or 50 days for these lined underneath the Plan’s particular rule primarily based on days of labor). Those that qualify will see decreased month-to-month COBRA premiums for as much as 12 months, or 9 months if they’re dropping protection on April 1, 2021.

For these members, Plan I COBRA premiums are decreased from $919 to $184 for a single participant; $1,663 to $333 for a participant plus one dependent; and $2,336 to $467 for a participant plus two or extra dependents. These premiums and eligibility necessities will even apply to present Plan II members who might be dropping earned protection on Oct. 1, Jan. 1 and April 1.

The plan additionally mentioned the Trustees — particularly the Union Trustees — perceive that some members’ earnings can fluctuate drastically from yr to yr, and so they insisted that the brand new single-plan construction embody a security web for members who’ve had prolonged careers. Because of this, the Health Plan has created the Prolonged Profession COBRA profit for members who’ve no less than 12 prolonged profession credit and might be dropping protection on and after Jan. 1 due to unstable earnings.

Contributors and their households will qualify for this new profit if they’ve no less than $20,000 in lined earnings throughout their final base earnings interval and lose protection on Jan. 1 or later. Those that qualify will see decreased month-to-month COBRA premiums — paying solely 20% of the in any other case relevant quantities — for as much as 12 months if they’ve 12-19 Prolonged Profession Credit or as much as 18 months if they’ve 20 or extra Prolonged Profession Credit.

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