We’re all aware that there are members who have solid earnings but are still falling short of qualifying for union health coverage because those earnings are being split between SAG and AFTRA contracts. Although there have always been participants that have had employer contributions made to both plans, the split in those contributions has been aggravated in recent years by shifts in the industry that have resulted in increasing numbers of participants who have sufficient joint earnings, but are not qualifying for either plan.
In a first move that will help many members in that position, the SAG Health Plan Trustees announced that beginning July 1, 2014, members with earnings under SAG-AFTRA contracts who do not qualify for health coverage under either the AFTRA or the SAG Health Plan may be able to combine their earnings reportable to each Plan in order to meet the dollar earnings requirement for Plan II eligibility (currently $15,100). This means that beginning with the base earnings period of April 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014, earnings reported to both Plans may under certain circumstances be combined to meet the dollar threshold to qualify for Plan II under the SAG Health Plan.
More detailed information about the circumstances under which a participant may elect to combine earnings will be provided by the Plans in the near future.
Please understand that this is only a first step and the SAG P&H and AFTRA H&R Trustees are individually and jointly actively exploring additional options to qualify the greatest possible number of participants for health coverage through SAG-AFTRA work. Both plans are putting special focus on the possibility of creating a single Health Plan to cover all eligible participants working under SAG-AFTRA contracts. The union will do whatever we can to encourage and support the efforts of the Plans.
More to come. Please visit sagph.org for more information.