Artists Scramble for Affordable Health Care Coverage as Deadline Looms

Sonic Youth's "Sonic Nurse" with cover art by Richard Prince

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) ends on February 15, 2015. But if you want your coverage to begin by the first of the new year, you have to apply by December 15.

The approaching deadline has many artists among the self-employed scrambling to figure out options. Some artists, musicians, and other performers have been sharing their experiences online, which may be of help to those confused by the system.

Southern California’s KCET network’s website, for instance, recently posted a lively account of the process by Los Angles–based artists consultant Corbett Barklie. In her biweekly column “Arts Shrink,” she relates a number of insurance coverage possibilities specific to California artists, but the general advice could be useful to all. Brokerage firms can facilitate the enrollment procedure, and, as an example, Barklie sought out a local firm, Artist Insurance Services [AIS], for comment and guidance.

Barklie writes, “When I asked [AIS] owner Michael Grodsky why he specializes in working with artists, he replied, ‘I choose to serve artists and arts organization due to my background as a performing musician.’ Grodsky combines his knowledge of the arts—he has a bachelor’s in classical guitar performance and a master’s in music theory and composition—with insurance expertise to effectively serve the creative community.”

For artists elsewhere in the country, the Artists’ Health Insurance Research Center contains useful information, and the Freelancers Union offers advice for artists looking to select a health insurance program that suits a broad range of needs and wallets.

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