WGA members who will lose their health coverage on October 1 will be granted extended coverage through the end of the year, per the guild’s tentative agreement. The extension also applies to writers who will exhaust their COBRA benefits eligibility. WGA members will soon be voting to ratify the new deal.
Union health plans have been taking a beating since the Writers Guild went on strike on May 2, followed by SAG-AFTRA on July 14, due to a lack of employer contributions. The Motion Picture Industry Pension & Health Plans (MPIPHP), which is covering IATSE’s West Coast locals, Teamsters Local 399 and several other industry unions, is reportedly down $150 million in employer contributions during the strikes.
Several other health plans, including those covering members of the DGA, SAG-AFTRA and IATSE, have made it easier to obtain health coverage during the strikes.
Last month, trustees of the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan unanimously agreed to a one-calendar-quarter extension of health coverage for certain qualified participants who would otherwise lose coverage on Oct. 1.
And trustees of the DGA Pension & Health Plans approved a free major medical plan last month for participants who lose coverage because of the strikes. The MPIPHP has also eased requirements that their members need to qualify for health coverage in order to help participants and dependents affected by the strikes.
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