UPDATED, 4:38 PM: Trustees of the DGA Pension & Health Plans voted today to extend access a free major medical plan for participants who lost coverage because of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Those who elect it now are eligible to use the coverage through March 31, provided they remain on the plan through December 31.
Read details below.
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The DGA supports the board’s decision, with guild President Lesli Linka Glatter saying in a statement: “In difficult times, we all must remember what matters most — taking care of one another. By extending these health coverage terms and making care accessible to more participants, the leadership of the Plans is investing in the long-term wellbeing of our DGA family.”
PREVIOUSLY, August 7: Trustees of the DGA Pension & Health Plans have approved a free major medical plan for participants who lose coverage because of the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.
“I am proud to announce that the DGA-Producers Pension & Health Plans Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the creation of a critically important free major medical plan for Health Plan participants and their eligible dependents who have been financially impacted by the work stoppage,” said DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter. “This innovative effort by the Plans’ trustees will help Plan participants facing financial hardship retain basic health coverage during this difficult time.”
The new DGA benefit comes in the wake of a similar move by the Motion Picture Industry Pension & Health Plan – which covers members of IATSE, Teamsters Local 399 and several other unions – which recently eased the requirements that their members need to qualify for health coverage in order “to help participants and dependents affected by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.”
So, among Hollywood’s major guilds, that leaves only members of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA without similar protections, even though the major health plans are all funded by, and have management trustees represented by, the same companies. Carol Lombardini, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, against which SAG-AFTRA and the WGA are striking, serves on the boards of all four major P&H Plans.
The frequently asked questions page of the WGA’s strike site notes, “There is no Health Fund requirement that the Health Plan extend health insurance coverage during a strike, and Trustees are 50% management and 50% Guild. If you fall out of coverage during the strike, extended benefits may be available under COBRA.” The WGA has been on strike since May 2.
SAG-AFTRA has been on strike since July 14, and its members are also facing the loss of health care coverage. Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the guild’s national executive director, said in a recent podcast “As far as health and pension go, eligibility requirements are going to remain the same” during the strike. We would love to adjust those requirements or make special exceptions, however, as many of our members undoubtedly know, the Pension & Health Plans are run by a joint board of trustees, half of which are controlled by the studios and streamers – the management-side trustees – so there is no vision on the horizon where we can get these management trustees to agree to make adjustments to the eligibility requirements.”
The DGA’s P&H Plans’ new benefit is available to participants and their eligible dependents who meet certain eligibility requirements. The Major Medical Plus Plan will offer network-only medical coverage with certain benefit exclusions and prescription drug benefits.
Its strike-related Major Medical Plus Plan will be offered initially for three months from October 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023, with consideration for future quarters of eligibility to be determined later should the strikes. It will provide the following benefits:
- Network coverage, including mental health and substance abuse benefits
- Prescription drug coverage
- Emergency Services (with specific guidance regarding non-network providers)
Hearing aids, chiropractic, acupuncture and foot orthotics are excluded from coverage under the Major Medical Plus Plan, as are dental benefits, vision benefits and special arrangements with UCLA Health/EIMG.
To qualify for the Major Medical Plus Plan, members must have worked under the Basic Agreement or the Freelance Live and Tape Television Agreement and meet either of the requirements below:
- Members and eligible dependents who lost Earned Active or regular Carry-Over coverage as of June 30, 2023, and did not have sufficient earnings to requalify effective October 1, 2023, for the applicable work period July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, and have at least $10,000 in initial compensation during the work period July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 and the DGA-Producer Health Plan is your primary plan; OR
- Members and their eligible dependents who will lose Earned Active or regular Carry-Over coverage as of September 30, 2023, and did not have sufficient earnings to requalify effective October 1, 2023, for the applicable work period July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, and have at least $10,000 in initial compensation during the work period July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 and the DGA-Producer Health Plan is your primary plan.
Qualified participants may include their eligible dependents for the duration of the Major Medical Plus Plan coverage. Participants who qualify for the Major Medical Plus Plan will receive a letter from the Health Plan with information on how to elect the coverage.
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