I am thrilled to announce that as of this morning, the trustees from both the SAG-Producers Health Plan and the AFTRA Health Fund have voted to merge the two plans and, once and for all, end the problem of split earnings. This agreement will be a great relief to our members and their families, especially those who have found it increasingly difficult to qualify for healthcare coverage as their earnings were split between the two plans.
The new SAG-AFTRA Health Plan will go into effect January 1, 2017 and will provide comprehensive health benefits to eligible members worldwide. All covered earnings under any of our union contracts will now credit toward eligibility for health coverage. This plan offers valuable features to keep our health insurance accessible and secure. It provides family coverage at all qualifying levels and by expanding the contribution base of the health plan, enhances the long-term sustainability of the plan.
The successful merger of these plans would not have been possible if we hadn’t united SAG and AFTRA first. Our members deserve one outstanding health plan. And I believe that once you learn more about the merged plan, you’ll agree that this new design will be tremendously beneficial to those of us who depend on our union-provided access to first-rate healthcare.
During the movement to merge SAG and AFTRA, Ken Howard and I, along with members from around the country, made a promise that we would work tirelessly toward a merged health plan. Today that pledge is fulfilled and a critical goal has been achieved.
The organizations that administer our health plans are separate entities from the union. Trustees include representatives of our employers as well as SAG-AFTRA representatives. The merger process required careful deliberation, and numerous options were evaluated. A key focus was maintaining the high level of healthcare that we’ve all come to expect at affordable rates while navigating the logistical intricacies of combining different plans.
It was a complex undertaking and our trustees understood it was crucial not to rush the process. Their painstaking review and careful consideration produced the best possible outcome. I thank and congratulate them for their hard work on a job well done.
Now that we’re here, I’m sure you have a lot of questions.
A brand-new website, sagaftrahealth.org has been created for you to get more details. In addition, informational sessions will take place in Los Angeles and New York during the coming weeks. Members outside of L.A. and New York will be able to participate via an informational webinar. Please visit SAGAFTRA.org for dates, times and RSVP information.
This is a historic day and I am honored to share this announcement with you. It’s another important milestone for our great union as we continue moving forward.