More than 1,300 angry SAG-AFTRA members have signed a petition calling on the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan to overturn changes that will leave many members without health coverage during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Plan says that the changes, which go into effect January 1, are needed to keep the Plan solvent in the face of staggering deficits. Premiums and earnings eligibility requirements will be going up for many – though not “doubled premiums” or “nearly doubled” annual earnings, as the petition says. And recent retirees who are 65 or older won’t be allowed to use their residuals income to qualify for the new $25,950 annual earnings threshold.
“I question the legality of these changes,” wrote petition-signer Frances Fisher, who is a SAG-AFTRA national board member and a vice president of the union’s Los Angeles Local. “Speaking personally and perhaps for every performer lucky enough to actually have a pension – we don’t ‘retire.’ I have to keep working to pay my bills. And now my dwindling residuals don’t count as earnings to help keep my health care? During COVID when only lucky stars are working? This is one of many things wrong here.”
“This new health plan is egregious & undemocratic!” former CSI star Marg Helgenberger wrote. “And the most vulnerable are affected.”
“DON’T DO THIS!!” Tony Award winner Betty Buckley wrote in all caps.
“This couldn’t come at a worse time for the membership,” wrote actor Gregory Harrison.
(Excerpt) Read more in: Deadline