Health Insurance News and Tips

Volume CIX, No. 11November, 2009

Thinking about your health? Local 802 and the Actors Fund recently co-hosted a seminar on getting and keeping health insurance.

A union rep explained how the Local 802 health benefits plan works, including an overview of what services are covered.

The COBRA law was also discussed, which allows you to stay on your health plan if you fall off of it, as long as you pay for it yourself.

For instance, if your Broadway show closes and you fall off the union plan, you can continue it at your own expense for up to 18 months.

Both the U.S. government and New York State have some COBRA subsidies.

If you lost your job between Sept. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009, you may be eligible for a 65 percent subsidy on your COBRA premium for nine months.

Likewise, entertainment professionals in New York state are eligible for a 50 percent subsidy of the COBRA premium for 12 months.

Finally, a union rep explained the use of LS-1 contracts, which lets you use private teaching or other jobs to get on one of the Local 802 health plans.

Renata Marinaro from the Actors’ Fund explained one’s options with regard to buying private insurance, public insurance (i.e. Medicaid, Healthy New York,, etc.), and free or low cost health care for those without insurance.

The Actors Fund runs the Al Hirschfeld clinic at 475 West 57th Street. It provides free health care for uninsured and low income entertainment professionals.

Another option for uninsured people is called the “HHC Options” program, which is available in all New York City public hospitals. Fees are based on your ability to pay.

Finally, the Artist Access programs at Woodhull Hospital and Bellevue Hospital allow you to exchange your artistic services for $40 an hour in health care credits.

Upcoming seminars

Local 802 is planning several other seminars this fall, including:

  • How to promote yourself as a musician. Tuesday, Nov. 24 from 11 to 1:30 p.m. at Legacy Studios (168 West 48th Street).
  • Managing your finances, Wednesday, Dec. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Club Room here at Local 802 (322 West 48th Street).
  • In addition, we’ll be holding another seminar on health insurance and one on holistic care, both early next year. Keep checking this site for more information.
  • Musicians are generally welcome at the Actors’ Fund workshops and programs. Most are free. For more information see and search for the calendar of workshops.

Got more questions? We’ve got answers!

  • If you want to know how to get on the Local 802 health plan, the real question is: how do you make more of your jobs union? Call the Organizing Department at (212) 245-4802. Be ready to talk about what kind of work you do.
  • Do you teach lessons? Are you ever a bandleader? We might be able to help you get on the union’s health plan. Call Jim Hannen at (212) 245-4802, ext. 141 and ask about the LS-1 form and music service contracts.
  • If you want to know what services are covered by the union’s health plan, or if you want to know if you may already be on the health plan but not aware of it, or how much money you have in your health account at the union, call the Health Department at (212) 245-4802.
  • If you just fell off the union’s health plan (or another health plan) and you want information on the COBRA plan as discussed in this article, call the Health Department at (212) 245-4802.
  • If you want more information on programs like Medicaid, Healthy New York, the Al Hirschfeld clinic, HHC Options or Artists Access, call our Musicians’ Assistance Program at (212) 245-4802, ext. 180. You can also visit and look for the Artists Health Resource Center.