Actors' Equity Association members on self-pay for their coverage from the Equity-League Health Trust Fund will receive an increase in rates on their next statements. Self-pay members are participants who are no longer covered by employer-paid contributions but remain on the plan.
The cost of benefits for those who are eligible has risen substantially over the last two years, according to the union. For example, Union Labor Life Insurance Company, the plan's insurer, recently increased its premium by more than 25%. Prescription drug expenses are expected to increase annually by approximately 20%. This has had a tremendous impact on Medicare-eligible members because Medicare does not cover drugs and the drug cost is fully represented in the self-pay rate.
The Equity-League Health Trust Fund's board of trustees reviews the cost of providing health insurance for members who must pay for their own coverage and is studying ways of reducing plan costs.
The recently announced preferred provider organization (PPO) enhancement to the indemnity plan, whereby participants may use in-network providers, can lower out-of-pocket expenses and is expected to lower the fund's current and future costs. "Hopefully, this will also reflect in lower premium increases in the future," the union noted in a statement on its website.
Members with questions may call the fund office at (212) 869-9380 or (800) 344-5220, or visit www. equityleague.org.