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Friday, March 28, 2008

Health insurance for musicians? For Pittsburgh artists, it's becoming a reality

Posted By on Fri, Mar 28, 2008 at 4:57 PM

It seems like we're always hearing about benefit concerts for some working musician or other who got caught without health insurance and ran up a mountain of bills. Perhaps it's questing after artistic immortality that leads musicians to think they're actually immortal themselves ... or, you know, they're just thinking about riffs and lyrics rather than the infinitely less-exciting world of premiums and deductibles.

While there are options available for self-employed musicians -- songwriters' organizations like BMI offer plans to their members -- they're not available to anyone, not widely known, and ain't free.

Pittsburgh artists have more options now, thanks to The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, which has just announced HM Care Advantage, a new health care plan "for local individual artists and part-time and seasonal employees of local cultural organizations," a limited benefits plan that starts at under $60/month. You do need to be a member of the Arts Council (probably not a bad idea anyway).

As I'm basically an idiot myself on such matters, I'll just say that the coverage starts on July 1, 2008, and if you want to know more about it, the GPAC is holding an informational meeting at 6:15 p.m. Mon., March 31 at the New Hazlett Theater on the North Side. The meeting is part of the organization's "Last Days Café" monthly networking happy hour, which goes from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

For more information, visit the GPAC website or contact 412.391.2060 x 234 or rfreytag@pittsburghartscouncil.org.

Hopefully the GPAC plan will help put an end to those endless benefit concerts for uninsured musicians. 'Cause there are plenty of more fun ways to blow your cash than having to check in to Presby.

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