How health coverage and contributions work at Local 802

Volume 118, No. 11November, 2018

Welcome to the third in a series of articles from the Communications Subcommittee of the Local 802 Executive Board (Bud Burridge, Sara Cutler, Martha Hyde and Wende Namkung). Our mission is to expand direct communication between musicians and their representatives at Local 802.

If you have further questions about any union business, feel free to contact any or all of us at the e-mail addresses listed at the end of this article.

The Communications Subcommittee hears repeated questions in the field about how health coverage and contributions work at Local 802. Some of this article contains information from a previous posting on the Local 802 Bulletin Board which we oversee. We think it’s worth restating and adding to it.

Most musicians working under Local 802 contracts with health benefits contributions know the six-month coverage periods are March 1 through Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 through Feb. 28-29. To qualify for Plan A beginning on March 1, you need $2,000 in employer contributions between the previous July 1 and Dec. 31. For Plan A+ that’s $4,500. To qualify beginning on Sept. 1 you need the same amounts between Jan. 1 and June 30. The period between the contributions and the beginning of benefits was shortened from three to two months a few years ago because the Affordable Care Act requires 90 or fewer days between qualification and the beginning of benefits.

Qualifying is one thing to know. Figuring out how it’s processed is less known among our members. Who collects information and how is it processed? How does the health fund actually work? Each area of the music industry is a little bit different. Here is an outline of what happens once the health contributions arrive at 802.

Broadway musicians are paid on two different payrolls:  the producer payroll and the theatre payroll. The producer payroll includes conductors, associate conductors, rehearsal musicians and accompanists for auditions. The theatre payroll includes all Broadway pit musicians (Shubert, Nederlander, Jujamcyn). The Local 802/Broadway League Collective bargaining agreement allows the employers 30 days from the last date of employment to submit their reports and remittances.

Theater Payroll Auditor Tara Donach, who works on the fifth floor at Local 802, compares theater payrolls with reports provided by in-house contractors, verifies payroll accuracy, and submits those reports for data processing and entry. This process is enormous, requiring the management of dozens of payrolls for hundreds of musicians.

Fourth floor staff at Local 802 process freelance concert and Lincoln Center payrolls in much the same way. Single Engagement/Club Date/Hotels/LS-1s/ 54 Below/Jazz/Religious payrolls are processed on the third floor.

All of the above staff send payrolls after verifying the amounts and the benefit payment amounts to Data Processing to be entered onto the system.

All processing for music prep and electronic media (albums, TV, commercials, film scoring, videogames, videos on social media – basically anything recorded or filmed in NYC) is done on the second floor.

AFM tours, which contribute to the health fund on behalf of 802 musicians, send their payroll reports directly to the health fund where they are processed and entered.

The health fund has its own timelines. The time between the qualifying period and the benefit period is two months. COBRA notices, notifications of changes to benefit levels and participant premium invoices are sent 30 days prior to the new benefit period. The benefit level is noted at the top of the invoice or COBRA notice.

The 30-day period employers have to remit payment to the health fund and the 60-day period between the end of the qualifying period and the benefit period put the fund on a tight timeline. The notices are sent to participants before all the reports are in.

Inside each COBRA notice is a print-out of the member’s credits with a label instructing them who to call at Local 802 to find out about their missing credits. Musicians with questions, especially if they primarily perform on Broadway, should contact Theater Payroll Auditor Tara Donach. Include in your message all the shows you have done for the last month of the qualifying period (December or June), so she can pull your records by hand and let you know where you stand.

If a member’s eligibility is affected by the late entry of June/December credits or any other credits, these members are notified by the fund with a participant premium invoice. If a member has enough credits with late reports to be eligible, that member will be reinstated retroactively to the beginning of the benefit period, and a new invoice will be sent with the new level noted.


What if you’re playing a job that doesn’t include health benefit contributions?

The Local 802 health plan can be great coverage for you and your family. The article above describes the way your health contributions get processed in the Local 802 building. For more information on what exactly the plan covers, see (Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page to see all of the menus.) But what if you’re playing a job that doesn’t include health contributions? In that case, please consider calling the Local 802 Organizing Department at (212) 245-4802. We can help you win the wages and benefits you deserve.